Google Chat

Best Free and Open Source Alternatives to Google Chat

Last Updated on April 15, 2022

Google has a firm grip on the desktop. Their products and services are ubiquitous. Don’t get us wrong, we’re long-standing admirers of many of Google’s products and services. They are often high quality, easy to use, and ‘free’, but there can be downsides of over-reliance on a specific company. For example, there are concerns about their privacy policies, business practices, and an almost insatiable desire to control all of our data, all of the time.

What if you are looking to move away from Google and embark on a new world of online freedom, where you are not constantly tracked, monetised and attached to Google’s ecosystem.

In this series we explore how you can migrate from Google without missing out on anything. We recommend open source solutions.

Google ChatGoogle Chat (formerly Hangouts Chat) is popular communication software provides direct messages and team chat rooms, together with a group messaging function that allows Google Drive content sharing.

Google Chat is freeware. What are the best free and open source alternatives?


1. Pidgin

Pidgin
Click image for full size

Pidgin is a chat program which lets you log into accounts on multiple chat networks simultaneously. For example, you can chat with friends on XMPP and sitin an IRC channel at the same time.

Pidgin is compatible with the following chat networks out of the box: Jabber/XMPP, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, IRC, Novell GroupWise Messenger, Lotus Sametime, SILC, SIMPLE, and Zephyr. It can support many more with plugins.

Pidgin supports many features of these chat networks, such as file transfers, away messages, buddy icons, custom smileys, and typing notifications. There are many plugins which extend Pidgin’s functionality even further.


2. Signal

Signal
Click image for full size

Signal is a simple, powerful, and secure messenger.

One of the main aims of the program is to place privacy and security at the front of the queue.

It offers secure messaging, voice and video calls, group chats.

It’s a sublime app that puts store in not taking advantage of its user base.


3. Gajim

Gajim
Click image for full size

Gajim aims to be an easy to use and fully-featured XMPP chat client.

The name Gajim is a recursive acronym for Gajim’s a jabber instant messenger.

The software has a great set of features including tabbed chat windows, group chats, end-to-end encryption support, multiple accounts, emoticons, avatars, file transfers, URL grabbers, and bookmarks.


4. Psi

Psi
Click image for full size

Psi is a first-class open source instant messaging application designed for the Jabber (XMPP) IM network.

This software enables you to chat using Google Talk, LiveJournal and many other groups. It offers full Unicode support, file transfers, and much more.

Psi automatically encrypts its communication with compatible IM servers to provide a secure connection over non-trusted networks like public WiFi access points.


All articles in this series:

Alternatives to Google's Products and Services
Google AnalyticsAnalytics is a platform for both website and mobile app analytics. This hosted web analytics software remains the mostly widely used analytics service.
Bazel is a fast, scalable, multi-language and extensible build system for building both client and server software.
Blogger is an online content management system which enables its users to write blog with time-stamped entries.
Google CalendarCalendar helps manage your busy life with a digital calendar. It offers tons of features and makes it easy to keep track of life’s important events all in one place.
Charts lets users visualize data on their website. It offers a wide range of ready-to-use chart types. The most common way to use Google Charts is with JavaScript that’s embedded in a web page.
Google ChatChat is communication software which provides direct messages and team chat rooms, together with a group messaging function.
Google ChromeChrome is application software for accessing the World Wide Web. It's the most popular web browser but has a chequered track record from a privacy perspective.
Chrome Remote Desktop is a remote desktop software tool that allows a user to remotely control another computer’s desktop through a proprietary protocol.
Google ClassroomClassroom is a learning platform for educational institutions that aims to simplify creating, distributing, and grading assignments. The main aim of the platform is to streamline the process of sharing files between teachers and students.
Google Contacts iconContacts is a contact management service. It's available on the sidebar of Gmail, a web app, and for Android.
Google DNSDNS resolves a particular domain name to its IP equivalent. There are many free DNS providers. A few stand out from the crowd.
Google DocsDocs is a web-based productivity office suite. The suite includes Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Drawings, Google Forms, Google Sites, and Google Keep.
Google DrawingsDrawings is diagramming software included as part of the web-based Google Docs Editors suite. Create and edit flowcharts, organizational charts, website wireframes, mind maps, concept maps, and more.
Google DriveDrive is a file storage and synchronization service. Want a solution that also includes the online office components available in Google Docs?
Google Earth ProEarth Pro maps Earth by superimposing satellite images, aerial photography, and GIS. Fly anywhere to see satellite imagery, 3D buildings, 3D trees, terrain, Street View, planets and much more.
FeedBurner is a web feed management service. Feeds are a way for websites large and small to distribute their content well beyond just visitors using browsers.
Google FinanceFinance is a website focusing on business news and financial information. It provides real-time market quotes, international exchanges, financial news, and analytics.
Google FirebaseFirebase is a platform for creating mobile and web applications. It's currently their flagship offering for app development providing an all-in-one cloud service.
Fonts is a computer font and web font service. It offers font families and an interactive web directory for browsing the library.
Google FormsForms is a survey administration software included as part of the free, web-based Google Docs Editors suite.
GboardGboard is a virtual keyboard app developed for Android and iOS devices. It features Google Search and predictive answers.
Google MailGmail is a hugely popular email service. You might not like the automated scanning of email content.
Groups is a service that provides discussion groups for people sharing common interests. Part of the service is similar to mailing lists.
JamboardJamboard is a digital interactive whiteboard developed to work with Google Workspace. Sketch your ideas whiteboard-style while benefiting from the access and connectivity of an interactive canvas, on mobile or directly from your web browser.
Google KeepKeep is a note-taking service. The app offers a variety of tools for taking notes, including text, lists, images, and audio.
Google MapsMaps is a web mapping service offering satellite imagery, aerial photography, street maps, and interactive panoramic views.
Google MeetMeet is a video-communication service. It offers enterprise-grade video conferencing built on Google’s global infrastructure.
News is a news aggregator service. It offers a continuous flow of links to articles organized from thousands of publishers and magazines.
Google SearchPassword Manager is a password manager built into Chrome and Android devices. It's published under a proprietary license with little information about security used.
Google PhotosPhotos stores your images in the cloud for convenient access from anywhere. Lots of useful tools, but it’s difficult to shake the sinking feeling that Google is analysing your pictures.
Google SearchSearch looks at privacy-focused alternatives to Google Search. If you believe that Google invades your privacy, what alternatives do we recommend?
Google SheetsSheets is a spreadsheet program included as part of the free, web-based Google Docs Editors suite.
Google SitesSites is a structured wiki and web page creation tool. Build internal project hubs, team sites, public-facing websites, and more—all without designer, programmer, or IT help.
Google SlidesSlides lets you create pitch decks, project presentations, training modules, and more. It's part of the Google Docs Editors suite.
Tasks is a task management application which lets users manage, capture, and edit their tasks. It's included with Google Workspace.
Google TranslateTranslate is a multilingual neural machine translation service that translates text and websites from one language into another.
Google YouTubeYouTube is an online video sharing and social media platform. It's a hugely popular service but has encountered a number of privacy issues.
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