Google Hangouts and Google Meet Review

There’s a difference between Google Meet and Google Hangouts. Here’s what you need to know about both.

Google Meet
  • pro
    Dial into video calls from your phone
  • con
    Can’t turn off the messaging feature during meetings
Google Hangouts
  • pro
    Free with your Gmail account
  • con
    Hard to view messages in Gmail
Chyelle Dvorak
Apr 20, 2023
bullet4 min read

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If you’re jumping onto the work-from-home bandwagon, you’ll need a new way to meet online. Maybe you’re just looking for an alternative to Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Or perhaps you want a better way to connect with family and friends. Whatever the reason, we’d like to help you negate the confusion between Google Hangouts and Google Meet.

In short, we think you’ll love Hangouts for easy one-on-one chats, but Meet is a better fit for groups or video meetings.

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Google Hangouts

Free to anyone with a Gmail account

Here’s the biggest difference between Google Hangouts and Google Meet: Google Hangouts is typically more casual and easier to use for personal messaging, calls, and video conferencing.

Using Google Hangouts is free and simple. All you need is your Gmail account, and you’ll automatically have access. However, anyone participating in your calls or messages needs to have Hangouts too. You won’t be able to send external messages or video call anyone who doesn’t have Hangouts.

Google Hangouts is very easy to use if you want to send a quick message or call someone using Wi-Fi. Hangouts especially shines as a group-chat app. While it only allows 25 people on a video call, you can have six times that many people in a text-based group. A friend of mine uses Hangouts on her iPod Touch to connect with friends over Wi-Fi. It’s almost like having a mini phone-plan at your fingertips, for free.

Google Hangouts details
Provider
Monthly price
Number of participants
Features
Details

Google Hangouts

Free

150 text-based OR 25 video participants

Needs an internet connection

Data effective 04/20/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Google Meet

The free plan

Google Meet goes more in depth than Hangouts. You can upgrade to a paid plan and join meetings with more participants. The free plan allows for up to one hour of video conferencing at a time with up to 100 people. Not bad for the free option. (And in case you didn’t notice, it’s longer than a free Zoom meeting, which times out at 45 minutes.)

Google Meet also allows you to dial in on your phone if you don’t have access to Wi-Fi. This feature is really nice if you don’t have an internet connection but still want to catch that work call.

Google Meet details
Provider
Monthly price
Number of participants
Features
Details

Google Meet

Free

100

Meetings last for one-hour periods

Data effective 04/20/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Google Meet allows you to chat in meetings

Similar to Zoom, you can send private messages or share pictures, files, links, and other data during your meeting. It’s also really easy to record your meetings and upload them to Google Drive so you have them later. If you prefer to send a message to the whole chat, you can do that too.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to disable the chat feature in Google Meet even if you’re hosting the meeting. This feature is highly requested by users and might change in the future. Both Zoom and Microsoft Teams allow the meeting hosts to turn off the chat feature in meetings.

Google Meet allows you to chat with people outside the app

Another benefit is the ability to connect with someone even if they don’t use Google Meet. You can still video conference with anyone you want. All you’ll need to do is send them the link to dial into the meeting.

Google Meet works without Wi-Fi

Because there’s a dial-in option, you don’t need to rely on your internet connection for that work-from-home meeting. You can use Google Meet right from your device using the Android or iIOS app. All you need is the dial-in number. It’ll work without Wi-Fi or data.

Google Workspace Essentials

If you want to upgrade from the free version of Google Meet to Google Workspace (the two services are fully integrated), you can purchase one of the following premium plans, which cost $6 to $18 per month per user.

Google Workspace plans

Plan
Price
Participants
Contract
Meeting length
Storage
Features
View Plans
Business Starter$6/mo.1001 year commitment24 hours30 GBStandard support
Business Standard$12/mo.150 + recording1 year commitment24 hours1 year commitmentStandard support (can pay to upgrade to Enhanced support)
Business Plus$18/mo.500 + recording + attendance tracking1 year commitment24 hours5 TBStandard support (can pay to upgrade), enhanced security, with Vault and advanced endpoint management
EnterpriseCall for quote500 + recording, attendance tracking, noise cancellation, and in-domain live streamingCall for quote24 hoursUnlimitedCustom and secure business email plus eDiscovery, retention, and S/MIME encryption

Data effective 4/20/2023

Each plan comes with different levels of attendees, storage, and security. The Enterprise plan seems to be geared more toward business use, but any other plan can work for the average Jo.

Business Starter can give you the basics for those busy working from home on a presentation. And Business Plus is great for someone like a remote professor or someone who just needs a bit more support, giving you up to 500 participants and even recording and attendance tracking. 

Google Hangouts vs. Google Meet

If you’re trying to choose between Google Hangouts and Google Meet, remember that it depends on what you’re looking for. If you need to host a meeting with up to 100 people, or if you think you’ll need to upgrade to a business plan, then Google Meet has you covered. You can also use Google Meet similar to a phone call—you don’t need an internet connection.

If you’re looking for a free platform that’s easy to use with just a few friends, then Google Hangouts is the better option. Anyone has full access to Hangouts with a Gmail account.

Alternatives to Google Meet

Let’s compare Google Hangouts and the basic Google Meet plan with popular video-conferencing giants like Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Video conferencing apps price comparison
Provider
Monthly price
Number of participants
Features
Details

Google Hangouts

Free

150 text-based or 25 video participants

Needs an internet connection

Google Meet

$0–$18

100

Meetings last for one-hour periods

Zoom

Free

100–500

Meetings have 24-hour time limit

Microsoft Teams

Free

100

Meetings last for one-hour periods

Data effective 04/20/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

After looking at the table, it’s easy to see that Google Meet allows you to set meetings for the same amount of time as Microsoft Teams. If you’re looking for a new alternative to Zoom, Google provides a good option.

Recap: Are Google Hangouts and Google Meet good?

We think that both Google Hangouts and Google Meet are worth competitors in the video conference sphere. Hangouts is a good fit for casual video hangs with a few friends or for large texting groups. Google Meet goes toe-to-toe with players like Zoom and Skype with large video meeting rooms and hour-long meetings.

Interested in more apps for online meetings? Check out these five great video conferencing apps.

FAQs

Yes. Google Hangouts encrypts your data and conversations. So as long as you trust the person you're communicating with, chat away!

Yes, you can! But beware you won't be able to undo it.

To delete your messages in Google Hangout, touch and hold your message on your Android device, tap delete, and then confirm once more. Bye-bye messages.

Google Meet's companion mode allows users to join a Google Meet meeting on a second screen, turning off your mic and video.

You'll need a Google Workspace admin to grant recording access to your account first, then you can record if you meet the following qualifications:

    • You're the host of the meeting
    • You've been promoted to a co-host
    • You're a teacher or co-teacher using Google Classroom
    • You're part of the host's organization and Host Management is turned off

 

And speaking of teachers, Google Workspace has specific resources for education accounts:

Education Fundamentals account or Education Standard account: Students as well as teachers or staff can record meetings they have personally organized.

Teaching and Learning Upgrade account: Anyone participating in the meeting and is part of the host's organization can record.

Education Plus account: Teachers, staff, students, or anyone part of the host's organization can record.

Google Meet's free account allows you to meet for up to 60 minutes. You can upgrade your account for $6 to $18 a month for more meeting time.

According to The HIPAA Journal, Google Meet is HIPAA compliant, but inherently. Certain conditions must be met to ensure your meeting is compliant. The health service worker conducting the meeting must subscribe to a Business Google Workspace or Cloud Identity account before signing into Google's Business Associate Addendum.

A Business Associate Addendum isn't enough in itself to comply with HIPAA. The service must be configured to support compliance, like making Google Meet the default videoconferencing service for the organization. Calls via Hangouts are not compliant if you're using video.

Google Meet allows you to do video and audio calls or just audio calls.

Chyelle Dvorak
Written by
Chyelle Dvorak
Chyelle works as a freelance writer for The Daily Beast and edited articles for Forbes, Inc.com, Fox News and other review sites. Chyelle tests, writes, and researches products and services related to internet consumption. She found her passion for public speaking and writing in her childhood when she won the Voice of Democracy speech and essay competition. Chyelle has a degree in International Relations from Crown College, Minnesota. Outside of work, Chyelle loves to spend time reading, kayaking, and running.

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