The Google Hangouts chat window in Gmail can be an annoying distraction if you just want to check your email in peace. So how can you disable it?
First of all, you need to be signed in to Gmail and be looking at one of your inboxes. In the top right-hand corner is a little cog, click that and then select “Settings” from the dropdown box that opens.
In the settings go to the Chat tab, click the radio button labelled “Chat off” and press save changes. The web page will now reload automatically and return you to your inbox. The Google Hangouts chat window will now be hidden.