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Google Hangouts is a communications platform from the tech giant that combines messaging, voice, and video calls. It’s a place to have one-to-one conversations or chat

with up to a hundred people.

You can use Hangouts for audio and video calls with up to ten people. It also syncs across the web, Android, and iOS with all your digital devices and contacts.

However, the days are numbered for Google Hangouts in its present form. In October 2020, Google announced that Hangouts would be replaced in 2021. The transition got underway in earnest in May 2020 with the announcement that Google Meet had been re-engineered from its business-focussed roots to a free product that anyone could use.

Google Hangouts was initially envisioned as a rival to counter Skype and Slack. Due to its linkages with Gmail and G Suite, Hangouts made a definite impression on both businesses and consumers. However, over the years, Google has tinkered with Hangouts quite a lot in a bid to keep in front and remain relevant in the face of intense competition.


Google Workspace was unveiled to bring Gmail, Drive, Calendar, Chat, Meet, and more under one roof. The initial rollout was for business customers but will be introduced for everyone during 2021.

The announcement has implications for Google Hangouts and the arrival of Google Chat planned for 2021.

Google Chat will be free as both a standalone app and integrated into Gmail. Chat will also include many Hangouts features. Google said Chat would make planning, sharing, and collaborating with others easier.

The transition from Hangouts to Chat will get underway in the first half of 2021. To ensure a smooth switch over, Google said it would automatically migrate Hangouts conversations, together with your contacts and saved history.

* A timeline for the changes has not yet been spelled out. But further announcements are expected soon.


Great instant messaging

Good communications integration

Suitable for small business and private individuals

Great communication tool for remote teams/homeworking

Easy on the eye interface


Seamless communication

Continuity of communications

Group chats

Audio and voice calls


Allows screen sharing


Getting phased out soon

It does not allow the recording of calls

It can be confusing to use

Too many notifications

Not end-to-end encrypted

How to use

To use Google Hangouts, you will first need to create a Google account if you don’t have one already.

When you log-in, you can then access Google Hangouts. The most convenient way is to navigate to the Google landing page and click on the App cluster icon and scroll down and select the Hangouts icon. You can also go direct from Gmail using the same method.

The hangouts icon takes you to your personal Hangouts dashboard to start making calls or sending messages. The left-hand menu lets you send out invitations to your contacts, download the app for Android, iOS iPhone, and iPad, and personalize your settings.

When you sign out of Google Hangouts, it automatically signs you out of all the other Google services you use, including Gmail.

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