As part of Google’s plans to deprecate Google Hangouts and move to arguably better alternatives namely Google Meet and Chat, the company has now removed group video calling from Hangouts and replaced it with Google Meet.
According to Android Police, the change is live in Hangouts version 36.0.340725045. Once you update to this version, you will find a banner at the top that reads, “Video calls in Hangouts now use Google Meet. This gives you live captions, screen sharing, and more.”
While the update completely removes the old video calling experience for groups, it still works on personal one-on-one chats. If you open the calling interface on personal chats, you will see three options – Share a Meet video call link [New], Call [person] with video, and Call [person] with audio-only.
On the other hand, Hangouts automatically inserts a Meet link into the message text box when users try to initiate video calls in groups to indicate that you can no longer use the old functionality.
Moving to Meet video calls gives you access to more features like live captions and screen sharing. However, the maximum number of participants gets capped from 25 people to 10 people in the free tier.
As Android Police points out, the change is not strictly enforced at this moment. You can continue using Google Hangouts’ video calling feature after downgrading to an older version of the app. However, you will have to eventually give up on Hangouts video calls and move to Meet.
If you are one of those Hangouts users looking forward to this feature, you can get a hands on it right away by updating the app from the link given below.
Download Google Hangouts (Android)