The use of video conferencing apps exploded during the Covid pandemic, with both Zoom and Microsoft Teams seeing a massive growth in users through 2020 and beyond.
Of course, Google isn’t one to miss out on this increased need for video calling and offers two apps: Google Meet and Google Hangouts. Both do a similar job and are available free to anybody with a Google account. Google Hangouts is best for casual use with a small group of family or friends. In contrast, Google Meet is much more like Zoom and better for larger group discussions.
To help everyone make the most of these services, Google has added the option to join or start a meeting or chat directly within the web-based Gmail sidebar.
If you use Google Meet or Hangouts, you may find it useful. If not, this option only gets in the way, cluttering the Gmail sidebar and covering up your email folder list.
So, let’s get rid of them.
I don’t use Google Meet or hangouts, so how do I turn them off?
To disable Google Meet or Hangouts:
- Open Gmail in your web browser and click the settings icon in the top left of the page.
- Click See all settings from the drop down menu that appears.
- In the settings windows, select Chat and Meet from the top menu bar.
- If you wish to remove Google Hangout from the Gmail sidebar: select the circle in the Chat section to the left of Hangouts off. Once selected, either click the Save Changes button or – if you also don’t need Google Meet – disable it as described next.
- If you wish to remove Google Meet from the Gmail sidebar: select the circle in the Meet section to the left of Hide the Meet section in the main menu. Once selected, click the Save Changes button.
- Gmail will refresh, and you will now have an unobstructed folder list.