Start using classic Hangouts chat

Classic Hangouts chat keeps you connected with your co-workers, and people in other organizations. 

Use the following resources to get started.

What’s new in classic Hangouts chat?

Here's a summary of even more benefits and features available with classic Hangouts chat.

What's new Description
Support for all your devices

Classic Hangouts chat takes full advantage of the growing number of devices used at work. For example, if you start a Hangout on your laptop, you can easily continue the same conversation on your mobile device.

Google Talk, on the other hand, was created before many people brought multiple devices to work. For example, Google Talk notifications are not automatically muted on new devices.

Chat with large groups

Use classic Hangouts chat with up to 150 people using a variety of devices, including Gmail, the Hangouts mobile app, or the Chrome plug-in. You can also name the group conversation, save it, and quickly invite more users. Learn more

After the conversation, you can still access the Hangout group’s message history.

Note: Co-workers can only join group conversations using Hangouts. They can’t join using Google Talk or a third-party messaging app.

Status messages for a multidevice workplace

With classic Hangouts chat, people can see if you are online and available, or not. Other status messages, such as “idle” or “busy” aren’t included because they don’t always apply when people use multiple devices. For example, your computer at work might be idle, but the mobile phone in your pocket means you’re still available.  

You can still enter a custom status message.  Learn more

If you’re not online:

  • Any messages sent to you are saved and delivered later.
  • A status message tells others when you were last seen on Hangouts. 

Tip: "Invisible status" isn't available in Hangouts chat. To hide when you were last seen using Hangouts, uncheck Show when you were last active in your chat settings menu (click the drop-down menu next to your name in Gmail). The green status bar or dot will not appear next to your name, and your "last seen" state will not be shown. You can still send and receive messages. Learn more

Classic Hangouts chat can store your conversation

Classic Hangouts chat can manage your conversations in real-time. You (or your administrator) can automatically save or discard all conversations, or you can choose to save or discard each individual conversation.

Google Talk messages, however, cannot be managed once delivered. For example, the messages can be delivered to the Adium chat client without your control.

Sharing is easy You can share all kinds of useful things while chatting with classic Hangouts chat. Share a map location if you’re discussing a conference site, share drawings of your latest plans, or display photos from a social gathering right in the context of your conversation.
Enhanced emoji Select from an expanded set of emoji to liven up your conversation. Hangouts can even detect specific phrases in your messages, like “Happy birthday,” and offer options for animated stickers.
Turn on classic Hangouts chat in Gmail

If your organization switches from Google Talk to classic Hangouts chat you may be asked to opt-in the first time you use chat in Gmail.

  1. Open Gmail.
  2. Find the chat list on the left side of your inbox and click the arrow next to your profile picture.
  3. Click Try the new Hangouts.
  4. Your chat will refresh and now you’ll see pictures next to people’s names instead of just circles.

If the message doesn’t appear, then you’re already using Hangouts chat, or will be automatically upgraded when you refresh Gmail.
Get started with Hangouts chat

Review the following information to get started with chat.

Resource Description
Install Hangouts on all your devices Install the classic Hangouts apps on your desktop and mobile devices to join classic Hangouts wherever you are.
Hangouts business processes Use these common use cases to better understand how classic Hangouts chat can transform the way you work.
Classic Hangouts chat FAQ for G Suite users Learn more about the switch to classic Hangouts chat.
Learn more at the classic Hangouts Help Center
Was this helpful?
How can we improve it?