Google Hangouts kills Group Video calling – pushes users to Google Meet

Google Hangouts kills Group Video calling – pushes users to Google Meet

Google has started the company’s traditional ‘death by a thousand cuts’ for outgoing products with the removal of group video calling from Hangouts. The messenger app, once known as Google Talk and soon to be replaced by Google Chat and Google Meet, has been updated to version 36.0.340725045, bringing in the first loss of functionality ahead of its planned switch-off in 2021.

hangouts video calling change

Image credit: Android Police

Hangouts users are now greeted by a message at the top of the contact list stating “Video calls in Hangouts now use Google Meet. this gives you live captions, screen sharing and more.” followed by a link to a Google support page. If you try and start a video call in one of your groups, you’ll instead have a Google Meet URL pasted into the chat for everyone to join in the browser. Not the most elegant solution, perhaps, but the game here is to try and nudge our behaviours away from using Hangouts, at least for the happy few that still do. Bizarrely, you can still make one-to-one video calls through Google Hangouts, just as before, and audio calls appear completely unaffected thus far.

According to Android Police, you can still rollback to an earlier version of Hangouts and use group video calling, but we’re not entirely sure why you’d want to unless you’re speaking to a lot of people at once. The free tier of Google Chat is limited to 10 participants, whereas in Google Hangouts, it’s 25. Whatever the case, it’s probably just easier to switch to something else, as the Google MO suggests we’ll see more features being deprecated in the coming months.

Ultimately, it seems that Google is committed to bringing down its gaggle of communication apps down to just Chat, Meet, and Messages, which is frankly a relief, given that in the past few years we’ve had Chat, Meet, Messages, Hangouts, Allo, Duo, G+, Currents, and probably a few more we’ve managed to block out.

Hangouts
Hangouts
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free
Google Chat
Google Chat
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free

About author

Chris Merriman
Chris Merriman

I am the UK News Editor at XDA Developers. I’ve been writing about technology for over a decade for the likes of The Inquirer, where I was Associate Editor, Computer Shopper UK, and IT Pro. I’ve also appeared on Sky News, BBC, Al Jazeera and recently left a long-running weekly tech news spot on TalkRadio UK. My love of technology comes from my family who hail from the pioneering days of Silicon Valley - in fact my Grandfather worked on Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. I’ve been using smartphones (and reading XDA) since the HTC Canary in 2003. I’m also a smart home obsessive. You can find me tweeting as @ChrisTheDJ or email me at [email protected]