Google kickstarted the slow death of the Hangouts brand a while ago, and earlier this year in April, the company officially cast the ominous shadow of oblivion on it by bringing Google Meet to the forefront. This was also accompanied by Hangouts Chat being (re)christened to Google Chat. Now, the company has started to slowly cut down the key features of Hangouts in order to migrate users to its new products. The latest one is disabling group video calls on Hangouts.

The latest version of Hangouts on both Android and iOS now shows a warning message at the top of the app’s homepage (image above) that video calls in Hangouts now rely on Google Meet. And to further sway users, the message adds that with Google Meet now in the picture, they can now take advantage of some nifty tools such as screen sharing and live captions among others.

Google Meet new UI
The new UI of 1-on-1 video calls in Hangouts

The latest version of the Hangouts app handles 1-on-1 video calls and group video calls in different manners. Now, when you open a chat with a contact and tap the video call icon in the top right corner, you’ll be greeted with three options – start a video call over Google Meet (this is a new option), start a video call using Hangouts, and make an audio call over Hangouts.

Group video calls in Hangouts now default to Google Meet.

But when you open a group conversation and tap on the video call icon, it automatically creates a Google Meet video call link and pastes it into the text field. All you have to do is hit the send button to share it with your contacts in that group. Now, to start the actual video call, you can choose between the Google Meet or Gmail apps, if you both on your phone. However, if you don’t have the Google Meet app installed on your phone, the group video call will be made via Gmail, even you’ve disabled the new ‘Meet’ tab at the bottom in the Gmail app

Source: Google Support

I’ve been writing about consumer technology for over three years now, having worked with names such as NDTV and Beebom in the past. Aside from covering the latest news, I’ve reviewed my fair share of devices ranging from smartphones and laptops to smart home devices. I also have interviewed tech execs and appeared as a host in YouTube videos talking about the latest and greatest gadgets out there.
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