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
Dial into video calls from your phone
Can’t turn off the messaging feature during meetings
Google Hangouts
Free with your Gmail account
Hard to view messages in Gmail

If you’re jumping onto the work-from-home bandwagon this new year, 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.

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
ProviderMonthly priceNumber of participantsFeaturesDetails
Google HangoutsFree150 text-based OR
25 video participants
Needs an internet connectionView Plan

Data effective 01/14/2021. 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 40 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
ProviderMonthly priceNumber of participantsFeaturesDetails
Google MeetFree100Meetings last for one-hour periods View Plan

Data effective 01/14/2021. 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, you can purchase the basic Google Workspace Essentials plan, which costs $8 per month per user. This plan comes with a few extra features: it supports international dial-in phone numbers, and you can record your meetings and save them to drive. If you’re busy working from home on a presentation, this feature is a lifesaver.

Another benefit to the basic plan is more meeting participants (up to 250) than your standard Zoom meeting. That’s one hundred more than you’re able to have in a Google Hangouts meeting. For a platform that only costs $8 per month, it’s not a bad deal.

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
ProviderMonthly priceNumber of participantsFeaturesDetails
Google HangoutsFree150 text-based or
25 video participants
Needs an internet connectionView Plan
Google MeetFree100Meetings last for one-hour periodsView Plan
ZoomFree100Meetings last for 40-minute periodsView Plan
Microsoft TeamsFree100Meetings last for one-hour periodsView Plan

Data effective 01/14/2021. 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.