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Start a Google Meet video call from classic Hangouts


Google is replacing Hangouts video calling in classic Hangouts with Meet. Meet has some great features, but it doesn't work quite the same way as Hangouts video calling, so it's worth understanding the differences.  

This is just one change coming to classic Hangouts, which is also removing the option to place phone calls through the Hangouts app or website.

On personal Google accounts Meet video calls can have up to 100 participants, grid view with up to 49 peopleclosed captionshigh-quality audio and video screen sharing, and background replacement.

You should see a notice in your Hangouts account when this change goes into effect.

In group Hangouts conversations you will only have the option to share a Meet video call link. 

In one-to-one Hangouts conversations you will have the choice between sharing a Meet video call link or starting a Hangouts video call. 

There are several functional differences between starting a Hangouts call and creating a Meet link in a Hangouts conversation: 

  • Sharing a Meet video call link just shares the link. It does not "ring" the other people in the Hangouts conversation.
  • To join the Meet meeting, people click or tap the link. That opens a waiting room where they can then click the "Join" button.
  • On mobile devices a Meet video call can be opened in the Meet app or in the official Gmail app.
  • Only people in the Hangouts conversation where the Meet link was created can join the meeting directly. Anyone else needs to ask to join. 
  • The creator of the Meet meeting link is the Host, and can remove mute or remove other participants, and accept or deny requests to join.  (This may work differently with work or school accounts).
  • Blocking does not apply in Meet. If you have blocked someone in Google Hangouts, they will be able to join the same Meet video call as you. You can report someone if they violate the Meet acceptable use policy.

Watch the video for an overview:

Read on for more details about Meet calls in classic Hangouts.

Create a Meet video call in a Hangouts conversation

In your Hangouts conversations the Hangouts video call icon will be replaced by squarer Meet call icon. This is how it looks in the Android Hangouts app, but you should also see a similar change on desktop. 

In a one-to-one conversation clicking or tapping the video call icon will give you a choice between creating a Meet meeting and sharing the link or calling the person via Hangouts. 

Android Hangouts app

Hangouts on desktop

In a group conversation clicking or tapping the video call icon creates a Meet video call link which you can share with the group.

Differences between Meet and Hangouts video calls

 Calls vs. Shared Links

When you Hangouts video call someone, their Hangouts will "ring" and show buttons that let people either join or dismiss the call. 

Hangouts video call in the Hangouts Chrome Extension

When a Meet link is shared, it doesn't ring for other people in the Hangouts conversation. The notification is the same as for any other link shared in Hangouts.

Joining the video call

When you call in classic Hangouts, people just need to click the green button to join. They are taken directly into the video call. 

Anyone else with the link to the classic Hangouts call can join directly.

When you create a Meet meeting link, you become the host of the meeting. 

When someone in the Hangouts conversation where you created the Meet link clicks it, they are taken to the Meet waiting room. There the person can see who is already in the call, adjust their camera and add a background replacement. 

They need to click the Join now button to join the meeting.

Anyone outside the original Hangouts conversation will see an Ask to join button on that page. The meeting host can choose to allow or deny that person entrance to the call. 

Technical requirements to join a Meet meeting

On desktop, participants need to be running a supported operating system (a recent version of Windows, macOS, ChromeOS or Linux) and a supported browser (a recent version of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge)

Mobile devices require Android 5 or higher or iOS 12 or higher, with the latest version of the Meet app or Gmail app.  If they are using the Gmail app, the Meet app does not need to be installed.

Host controls in Meet

The person who creates the Meet meeting link in the classic Hangouts conversation is the host or moderator of that call. 

When using a personal Google account, only the host can:
  • Accept or decline requests to join
  • Mute other participants
  • Remove other participants
Report Abuse, rather than Block

Meet does not let you block other participants, and people who you may have blocked in other Google products like Google+, Photos, or Maps, can join the same call as you.

Meet-only features

Finally, Meet has a number of features that are not available in Hangouts video calls. 

If you are using a personal Google account: 


  1. Now Google Meet is a separate tool. Google Hangouts no longer exists. Google Meet is a very good video conferencing tool which is at par with likes of Zoom, R-HUB web video conferencing servers, Gomeetnow, Gotomeeting etc.

    1. Hangouts isn't gone yet. But I do think Meet is a big improvement over Hangouts video calling, and with the new features launched over the past year can compete with Zoom and other services.


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