Google Chat known limitations

Google Chat has the following known limitations. Read each one carefully to make sure you understand the impact to your organization before switching users to Chat.

Interoperability between classic Hangouts and Google Chat

Direct 1:1 messages, new group chats, and unthreaded spaces in Chat appear in classic Hangouts, and the other way around. However, legacy group chats and threaded spaces in Chat do not interoperate with classic Hangouts.

Learn more about Chat and classic Hangouts interoperability.

Group conversation and space participant limits

The number of participants you can have in a group conversation or space depends on the type of Chat:

Chat type Description Maximum number of participants
Group conversation Conversation in "Chat" section with 2 or more people 400
Unthreaded space Single conversation stream (default space type) 400
Threaded space Separate conversations grouped by topic 8,000

External chat network

  • Users in Google Workspace organizations that have not yet turned on Chat won't be reachable through Chat. Users can message any external users in organizations that have Chat turned on.
  • Users can still use hangouts.google.com for external chats, and the classic Hangouts chats will then be mirrored in Chat.
  • External guests can’t be added to group chats created on Chat. However, users who have classic Hangouts enabled can create unnamed group conversations in classic Hangouts if the Chat externally setting is On. The classic Hangouts group conversation can then show up in Chat as a new group chat with external guests.
  • Essentials edition only: If your domain is not verified, users can't add coworkers outside their Essentials team to a group chat. Everyone outside the Essentials team is considered an external guest, including people in their larger organization. If the domain is verified, users can have group chats with anyone in their organization.

Mobile app experiences for classic Hangouts and Chat

When you turn off classic Hangouts apps or migrate your organization to Chat with the "Chat preferred" service setting:

  • Users need to install the latest version of the classic Hangouts mobile app (Android, iOS) to see messages redirecting them to download the Gmail app. The Gmail mobile app will have Chat and Spaces tabs enabled. In addition, Android users need to have Android 6.0 or above.
  • Users on earlier versions of the classic Hangouts mobile apps will see all previous messages even though the app is turned off. They can't, however, send or receive new messages and won't receive any notifications.
  • Users will be redirected to use the Gmail app to access Chat, but if their Gmail app is older than September 2020, they won’t see Chat in Gmail. Users should install the latest version of the Gmail mobile app (Android, iOS).

Voice calling

  • Phone calls and text messages using Google Voice are not directly available through Chat.

    Users can switch apps to use voice.google.com to make phone calls and send or receive text messages, or download the Google Voice app on their mobile devices (Android, iOS).

    Note: If a user hasn't already set up Voice on their Google Workspace account, your organization will need to get a Voice license for new users to sign up for Voice.

  • Fi users: Chat does not support integration with Google Fi. Google Fi users who chose classic Hangouts as their default text messaging app for their device can still send and receive text messages using the classic Hangouts app on their Google Fi mobile device.

Video calling

Users can start and join meetings from 1:1 chats using Google Chat in Gmail on Android and iOS devices. Users who have the Gmail app installed can also join a video call (but not start one) from the mobile Chat app.

For other situations, such as group conversations and Chat on the web, the following applies:

  • From Chat, users can join ad-hoc online meetings through Google Meet by sharing a link to Meet. This is different than the video calling experience from classic Hangouts because there's no ringing or calling state. 
  • Users who want to join meetings from their phones should download the Meet application to their mobile devices (Android, iOS) and sign in to their Google Workspace account.

Video calls between a user on Chat and a user on classic Hangouts result in asymmetric caller/recipient experiences:

Caller Recipient Outcome
Chat call in Gmail on mobile devices Classic Hangouts
  • Caller is in a "calling state" (call goes through for caller as if it is ringing the recipient)
  • Recipient receives link to join the video (no ringing)
Chat, when sharing a Meet link Classic Hangouts
  • Caller shares Meet link 
  • Recipient receives link to join the video (no ringing)
Classic Hangouts Chat
  • Caller is in a "calling state" (call goes through for caller as if it is ringing the recipient)
  • Recipient receives message in Chat: “A call has been attempted from Hangouts. Calls made from Hangouts can't connect with Google Chat. You can share a link to a Meet video call instead.”

Chat standalone app

Refer to Use the Google Chat standalone app to check for possible limitations. 

Chat messages in Gmail inbox

For customers who adopted Chat before June 2020 with the Chat preferred service setting: If users have never signed in to classic Hangouts, all chat messages go to their Gmail inbox to notify them of missed or unread messages. After they sign in to classic Hangouts at hangouts.google.com, chat messages skip their inbox and get filtered with the Chats label.

All users can still see chat messages in Gmail if they use filters to send chat messages to their inbox or if they view content with the All Mail label

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