Google seems to be on a warpath to eradicate their long-loved Hangouts service. Google Chat has already taken drastic steps to clean up the mess that Hangouts left behind, and now, you can no longer make group video calls in the app. As of Hangouts version 36.0.340725045, a new banner at the top of the app shows the following message:
Video calls in Hangouts now use Google Meet. This gives you live captions, screen sharing, and more. Learn more.
Instead of starting up a video call within a group chat, you’ll be given a link that leads you to install and or use Google Meet. It’s strange to point users somewhere else from within the app instead of just shutting Hangouts down entirely, but it’s clear that this is a transitionary step and that its days are still numbered.
Many people have taken to Google Meet for its updated design and modern features, but it still may take some getting used to. The service only recently began allowing users to create rooms with unthreaded conversations and until that point, I personally think it was unusable. If you’re still interested in using Hangouts for group video calls, you can download and install a previous version of it from APK Mirror for now, but Meet works in Gmail, so unless your friends and family are interested in chatting from a mobile device, they won’t even need to download yet another Google messaging app.