Suppose someone sends you a message with an URL:

example hangouts window

When clicking that URL it'll spin up a Chrome window or tab with that URL. However, Chrome is not my favorite browser on this PC. I want to make Hangouts open links in my favorite browser by default.

I've tried gone breadth-first through the settings of a contact, as well as the Hangouts general settings, but haven't found an option for this. I've searched with Google but found no relevant results, and I've searched WebApps.SE finding zero relevant results as well.

Workarounds I've found are all suboptimal. Using Hangouts from your another browser (via Gmail) makes links open in that browser, but Hangouts in your browser is not a nice experience. Obviously there's copy-pasting the URL into your favorite browser, but that also requires several tedious manual actions.

My setup is Windows 8.1 with latest updates. I have installed Chrome (latest), Firefox (latest), and IE 11. The latter is set as my favorite browser. The Hangouts app is one I've installed quite some time ago at first seems like a separate app, because it's a separate set of windows, and because of how it's shown in the taskbar:

Hangouts in taskbar

However I can't seem to find the application in the "Programs and Features" settings screen of Windows. It does show up as an extension for Google Chrome, which does kind of suggest that what I want is not possible.

Or is it?

  • Are you using Hangouts from Chrome? Or your favorite browser? When you open an URL from any browser the link opens within the same browser. What OS? What browser are you using? Seems to me that this issue is not Hangouts specific, but system related.
    – slybloty
    Feb 25, 2015 at 17:15
  • I've tried to clarify, thus nearly answering my own question. I guess that since "The Hangouts App" I thought I had on my PC is actually a Chrome extension masquerading as an actual app. If it's an extension I guess there's probably no way to make links in it open in a different (my favorite) browser. It is Hangouts-specific though, not some bug on my system (e.g. same behavior on other, different PCs).
    – Jeroen
    Feb 25, 2015 at 17:50

3 Answers 3


What you have installed is the Chrome extension of the Hangouts App. It is a standalone window/app but it runs within the Chrome browser, therefore it opens everything in Chrome, just like a detached tab.

You should try installing the plugin.

  • 1
    Thank you for your comment (which helped me discover this was the case) as well as your answer confirming things in clear words. Feeling silly, I almost deleted my question, but I guess I may as well leave it out there in case others wonder about the same thing. Cheers!
    – Jeroen
    Feb 25, 2015 at 22:54
  • 1
    This has suddenly become very relevant again, with Google Chat going full-PWA. Is there a better answer to this question?
    – freekvd
    Mar 9, 2021 at 15:02

For a mobile/tablet user (in case you have a similar/related question but not on your pc and could not find a forum with this info...):

To change how a URL opens from within Hangouts, there is a setting for it on Android.

  1. Long-press on your Hangouts icon.
  2. Select the 'i' with the circle for "App info" screen of Hangouts.
  3. Scroll down and select the "Set as default" setting under the "App settings" category.
  4. Under select the "Go to supported URLs" setting under the "App links" category to change the current setting shown for opening web urls.

You can set how URLs open in one of 3 options:

  1. Open the URL in the Hangouts app.
  2. Always ask you which app to use to open the URL.
  3. Pick a specific app you want Hangouts to use.

Personally, I don't like that when I am in Hangouts, if I click on a web URL link, it opens the URL within the Hangouts app. (You can't switch back and forth between the site and your hangouts message without going "back"..)

I set my Hangouts setting to open URLs with the "Always ask" option so I can pick what I want to open with every time.

It depends on your personal preference, but important to keep that in mind if you like to go back to Hangouts.

I hope this is helpful to someone!

  • Cannot believe that it took me this long to find the answer. Apr 5, 2023 at 23:36

One of my friends created a utility that allows you to open links in your browser of choice. It's only for Mac right now so you can get it on the Mac App Store.

I know you asked this as a Windows user but maybe you or someone else find Buffet useful today. This browser picker is tremendously helpful for developers, sysadmins and superusers.

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