UPDATE: This only works for Google Chrome 53 or older. If you want a workaround please follow the source of this post.

For a long time I have been a happy Google Hangouts user, it used to work great across multiple devices with handy per-chat windows that could minimize which looked like;

Old Google Hangouts

Old Google Hangouts

Since about a week there has been an update to the Hangouts extension. The result is that Hangouts is a new window that contains all chat information with a new material design, as follows:

Hangouts from Google Chrome store

Hangouts from Google Chrome store

While I do like the new material design of the Google Chrome conversation it is not practical for me. Often I am chatting with several people on Hangouts and I prefer the green bar in the bottom of my screen to notify me of my new messages.

Immediately after the forced update I started searching for a solution, which I found somewhere on reddit (unfortunately I cannot find it anymore, will update with source link if encountered, found it). In order to use the ‘old’ extension, you have to manually install this extension into Chrome. If you follow the following steps, you will get the old version with individual windows back. consists of a couple of steps;

If you have installed the new Hangouts extension, uninstall it first.

  1. Download the old extension here
  2. Depending on the Windows version you use, find the Google Chrome extensions folder
    • For Windows 10 this is:
      C:\Users\chris\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions
  3. Unpack the corresponding zip such that the folder ‘nckgahadagoaajjgafhacjanaoiihapd’ exists
  4. Go to the extensions page: chrome://extensions/
  5. Enable the ‘developer mode’
  6. Click on ‘Load unpacked extension’
  7. Navigate the the Google Chrome extensions folder
  8. Open the ‘nckgahadagoaajjgafhacjanaoiihapd’ folder
  9. Select the ‘2016.809.1413.1_0’ folder and confirm

After this the old Hangouts extension should be installed again and ready to use!