Google Hangouts is a great chat client, easily one of the best when it comes to it’s awesome group video calls and picture quality. However, as with many things, it’s increasingly common to channel users in to using an approved chat client in the workplace. To enable this, here’s a little guide on how to disable Google Hangouts.
For this you will need to install the Google Chrome Group Policy templates on your AD server.
To block the Hangouts extension for Google Chrome
You’ll need the Extension ID of the Hangouts extension so let’s get that first.
- Type the following in to the Chrome address bar.
- Tick the Developer tick box at the top of the page.
- Find the Hangouts extension and copy the ID shown there
I’ve found two IDs so far, nckgahadagoaajjgafhacjanaoiihapd and knipolnnllmklapflnccelgolnpehhpl. I don’t know why they aren’t the same so I’m guessing it’s version based or something. However blocking both worked for me reliably.
- Create a new group policy called “Disable Hangouts” and apply it to your chosen OU.
- Drill down to Computer Settings > Policies > Administrative Templates > Google > Google Chrome > Extensions and double click “Configure Extension installation blacklist”. There’s also a User based policy option but I tend to disable everything at the computer role as we have fairly static users.
- Enable the policy and click Show to add your IDs. Then click OK several times to get back to the management window.
That’s the extension blocked. After applying the GPO to an OU and restarting your users should find that their Hangouts extension icon has disappeared.
Blocking Hangouts in the browser.
You will also need to block Hangouts from working in a web browser. To do this just block hangouts.google.com in your web filtering tool (I use a Smoothwall).
This will prevent people visiting the Hangouts website and also disable the Hangouts widget in the GMail web site.