Hangouts: Bring conversations to life with photos, emoji, and even group video calls.

Google Hangouts Overview

Video (:37): Here's a quick overview how businesses around the world are using Google Hangouts.

Starting a Hangout

  1. Start a Hangout from:

    • Google Chat (learn more)

    • Google Calendar (learn more)

    • From within Google+

      • Click the Start a Hangout button at the top right of the page.

        1. – OR –

      • Click the Hangouts icon on the left side of the page and then click Start a Hangout.

Note: Initial plug-in installation may be required.

  1. Make sure your mic and camera are working correctly by looking at your video feed at the bottom of the page. You should be able to see yourself in the video feed, and when you talk, you should see a green bar appear at the bottom of your video. If you are having issues with your mic or camera, try these troubleshooting steps.

Joining a Hangout

When you join a Hangout, you will see the current participants, broken down according to who is in your circles and who is not. A few simple ways to find and join a Hangout in progress follow below.

From within Google+

  • Check the right side of your Home page to see Hangouts invitations. Simply click the Hangout button next to an invite to join.

From Direct Requests to Join

  • Colleagues may send you the URL to a Hangout which you can copy and paste into your browser. Clicking the URL will also open the Hangout.

  • Since no one likes to Hangout alone, it is likely that when someone starts a Hangout, they may select a group to notify. If you are in this group, you'll get notified in the Google Bar at the top of the page. If you've been individually added to the Hangout and you can chat with the person, you'll get a chat notification. Note: To avoid unwanted notifications, please do not send chat notifications to circles with more than 25 members.

Inviting People to a Hangout

No one owns a Hangout, so anyone in the Hangout can invite anyone else. While your Hangout could start with a group of people that you know, it could evolve into a completely different crowd.

Invite People at the Start

  1. Click Start a Hangout at the top right side of your Google+ window.

  2. Add entire circles or just the individuals that you want to Hangout with.
    Note: You can have up to 50 people in a Hangout at once.

  1. If you want to invite someone who cannot video chat immediately, you can still invite them to join over the phone. To invite a phone participant, click the Telephone tab at the top of the page, dial the phone number you wish to invite, and click Add. Learn more about inviting phone participants.

  2. Click Hangout to start the Hangout and send notifications to the people you chose.

Invite People Later

You or anyone else in the Hangout can invite additional people after the Hangout has already begun.

  1. Click the ‘Invite People’ button at the top left of the Hangout window.

  2. Type someone's name, the name of a circle, or click one of the profile pictures of someone currently online in your circles.

  3. Click Hangout to send notifications to the people you chose.

Note: You can have up to 50 people in a Hangout at once. If additional people try to enter, they'll be told the Hangout is currently full.

Invite People Outside Your Organization

When you use your Hangout at work, you might notice that the Hangout is restricted to people in Sigma-Aldrich when you try to start one. You can still add people outside the organization if you explicitly invite them, or if they are part of a circle that you invite. People within SIAL can join the Hangout if they are invited or have the URL.

When you invite people outside SIAL, you will see a warning, asking you to verify that you want to do this. During the Hangout, participants will see a notice that external people have been invited and can join the Hangout. This serves as a reminder to be careful about what you discuss.

Note: If uninvited people outside your organization get the URL to a restricted Hangout, they will not be able to join. In addition, people outside your organization will not be able to extend invitations to other participants (but other people in your organization can do so).

Invite a Phone Participant

  1. Start a Google+ Hangout.

  2. Click the Telephone tab at the top of the page, or the +telephone link on the left side of the invite screen.

  3. Enter the phone number you wish to call and click Add.

  4. Click the Hangout button.

Dial an extension: If you are calling a phone number that has an extension, use the steps above to invite a phone participant. Once the call is connected, use the dial pad that appears to enter the extension.

Note: If the dial pad is not visible, clicking on the phone participant in the film strip.

Hangouts in Gmail

Hangouts in Gmail makes it easy to communicate with the people you care about! In addition to being able to message people and have face-to-face video calls, you'll also get new features that help bring your conversations to life, including:

  • Ability to share photos

  • Group Hangouts with up to 100 people

  • Over 800 fun, new emoji

Frequently Asked Questions

Why don't I have the option to invite phone participants?

If you are using Hangouts outside of the U.S. and do not see this option, it is probably because you are in a country where the feature has not yet been made available. Google is working on making this feature more widely available and appreciates your patience.

How many phone participants can I invite?

Currently each participant can only dial in one person.

How do I mute a phone participant?

The person dialed in cannot mute anyone, nor can they be muted. The person who was dialed in can use their phone to mute themselves.

Who can make or end a call with a phone participant?

Anyone in the Hangout can make or end the call.

How do I view my call history?

In the Hangout, click the telephone icon.