Knowledgebase: Hangouts
Using Google Hangouts
Posted by Patricia Goodman on 26 September 2014 10:36 AM

What you'll find in this article: 

 

What you can do with Hangouts

Use with multiple devices: Hangouts conversations are synced automatically across devices, so you can start a Hangout on your computer and continue on another device, like your phone. 

Make video calls: Have face-to-face conversations with up to 9 other people using video calls from Hangouts.

Send SMS and Hangouts messages: You can start a Hangout with just one person or multiple people. You can also send text messages using Hangouts and your mobile phone number.

Make phone calls: Calls made to the U.S. and Canada are currently free. Calls to destinations outside of the U.S. are at low rates, but calling isn’t available to all locations.

 

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To be able to hold a Google Hangout session, you first need to enable Google Hangouts in your GC Google account: 

Enabling Google Hangouts can be done one of two ways: 1) enabling it in Gmail, or 2) enabling it in your Google Chrome browser.  You can choose either way from the two options below: 

Option 1 - Enable Hangouts in Gmail on a computer

Note: Google Hangouts works best when using the Google Chrome browser, as opposed to Firefox or some other browser.

  1. In the Chrome browser, log into your GC Gmail account.   Make sure right-side chat is turned on. If it is off, do the following:
    • in Gmail, click on the Gear icon located in the upper right side of the window
    • click on Settings
    • click on the Chat tab
    • click the radial button for "Chat On" and then click on the Save Changes button 
  2. Now, in the upper right side of yoru Email window you will see a column for the Chat window.
  3. Click your profile photo at the top of your Chat list.
  4. Click Try the new Hangouts
  5. Gmail will refresh. Now go to the next step below.  

Option 2 - Enable Hangouts in your Google Chrome browser

  1. Download the Hangouts Chrome Extension by going to https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/hangouts/nckgahadagoaajjgafhacjanaoiihapd   This will allow you to participate in a Hangout from within your Chrome browser, without having to be actually in the browser window for GC Gmail. It will add a special green button (which looks like an apostrophe) at the top right corner of your Chrome browser. Use this button to engage in a Hangout. 
  2. Click on the +Free button to install the Hangout Chrome extension. 
  3. Click on the Add button to add the Chrome extension. *Note that if you have a Chrome Sync account, the Hangout Chrome Extension will be automatically added to the Chrome browser on all of yoru devices. 
  4. Once you've followed both steps 1 and 2, proceed to the "Holding a Hangout Session" section below for instructions on how to participate in a Hangout session. 

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Enable Hangouts on your Android or iOS device

If you wish to enable Google Hangouts on a device, such an Android or iOS device, use the following instructions: 

Android Devices

  1. Go to Google Play and download the Hangouts app.  Note, if you want to also use Hangouts to make phone calls (free within the US and Canada), you also need to download the Hangouts Dialer app to turn on calling in the Hangouts app. 

iOS Devices

  1. Go to the Apps Store and download the Hangouts app. 

 

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Starting a Hangout Session

You can start a Hangout with anyone you’d like as long as the person has a Google Account. If you start a Hangout with someone who doesn’t have a Google account, an invitation will be sent to their email address asking them to join Hangouts. There are two ways to start a Hangout conversation or video:  

  1. using the Hangout icon in Gmail (requires that you first enable Hangouts in Gmail), or 
  2. using the Hangout icon in the top corner of your Google Chrome browser (requires that you first install the Chrome browser Hangout extension). 

Start a Hangout conversation or video call from Gmail

  1. Open Hangouts in Gmail or Google+.
    • Gmail: Click on the Hangouts icon   in the bottom-left corner of the Gmail window.
    • Google+: Click on the Hangouts icon  in the top-right corner of the Google+ window.
  2. Select a person from the Hangouts list. The list is ordered with your most recent Hangout at the top. Or click the search button  and type in the Gmail email address in the person you want to hold a Hangout with.  
    • If you want to start a group Hangout, check the boxes in front of multiple people's names and click the chat icon  to start a message or a video icon  to start a video call.
  3. Below the person's that you have chosen, you will see two options to click, "Text Conversation," or "Video Call."  Click to choose the type of Hangout you want to start:
    • Text conversation: Type the message you want to send in the text box that says “Send a message” and press the return key on your keyboard to send the message. The  typing indicator will show other people in the Hangout that you’re typing a message.
    • Video call: Click the video icon   to start a video call.
  4. If you’re using the Hangouts Chrome extension, Hangouts conversation windows started in Gmail or Google+ will open outside of the browser window.

Add emoji, photos or art to your messages

You can add graphics, like happy faces, to your conversations with emoji, or send photos to your friends. You can also draw a picture and share it in a conversation.

Add a photo: Click the camera button   .

Add emoji: Click the smiley face .

Draw art and send: You can draw something on a blank canvas or you can upload a photo to draw over it. Here are the steps to draw a picture and send in a message.

  1. Place your mouse over the camera button    .
  2. The pencil icon will appear. Click the pencil icon . You can start on an empty drawing canvas. Or you can choose one of the options below to draw on a photo or another drawing:
    • Use a photo: If you want to draw on a photo that you have, you can upload a photo. Go to the top of the drawing canvas and click the camera button   .
    • Use an existing drawing you used or one that you received from someone else: Go to the drawing you sent or someone else’s photo or drawing that you received in your conversation window. Place your mouse in the upper right corner of that image. Then click the pencil icon .
  3. Choose the color and size of your pencil. You can also choose the shape and opacity of the pencil.
  4. Draw your picture.
  5. Click Send.

Message delivery issues

If a message isn’t successfully delivered, it’ll appear red. This usually happens when your Internet connection is temporarily interrupted or is too slow. When your connection is restored, the message will be sent, and the text will turn black.

 

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Start a Hangout conversation or video call using the Chrome Hangout extension

You can also start a Hangout using the Chrome Hangout extension after installing the Chrome browser Hangout Extension

  1. Click on the green Hangout icon in the upper right corner of your browser (it looks like a green apostrophe).
  2. Select a person from the Hangouts list. The list is ordered with your most recent Hangout at the top. Or click the search button  and type a name or email address.
  3. When you find the person you want, click their name. 
    • if you want to start a group hangout, next click on the group icon (looks like a person with a plus sign)
    • if you want to start a video hangout, next click on the video icon (looks like a video camera)
  4. Below the person's that you have chosen, you will see two options to click, "Text Conversation," or "Video Call."  Click to choose the type of Hangout you want to start. 

 

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Start a Hangout conversation or video on your iOS device

  1. Open the Hangouts app on your iOS device.
  2. At the bottom of the screen, touch the  Hangouts icon.
  3. Touch the  compose button at the top right of the screen.
  4. Type the person’s name, email address, or phone number. Touch the name if it shows in the contact list or touch Doneif you're entering the contact for the first time. To add more people to the Hangout, repeat this step as many times as you'd like.
  5. In the box at the bottom, type the message you want to send.
  6. To add photos, videos, your location or a sticker, touch the attach icon. Then click one of these items to add:
    1.  Camera: You can take a photo or a video up to 10 seconds with your camera.
    2.  Photo: Access your albums on your device.
    3.  Location: Add your current location or another location on the map. Once you add a location, it'll automatically be sent without you having to touch the  send icon yourself.
    4.  Sticker: Send an animated face sticker to show how you’re feeling. Once you add a sticker, it'll automatically be sent without you having to touch the  send icon yourself.
  7. Touch the  send icon.

Start a video hangout:

  1. Open the Hangouts app on your iOS device.
  2. Touch the  Hangouts icon to go to your Hangouts list.
  3. If you've had a Hangout with the person already, find and touch their name on your Hangouts list. Otherwise, touch the  compose button at the top right of your Hangouts list and type the person's name to start a Hangout.
  4. Next, you’ll be in the conversation view. Touch the person’s name at the top of the screen and several options will appear.
  5. Touch the  video icon to start the video call.

On iPads only, you can also start a video Hangout from a conversation by pressing down on the right side of the screen with your finger and swiping to the left. 

 

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Start a Hangout conversation or video on your Android device

  1. Touch compose icon  at the top right of your Hangouts list.
  2. Select a contact for your Hangout by typing the person's name, email address, or phone number in the search box. You can also select one of your contacts from the lists below the search box.
  3. You can start a Hangout in a few ways:

    1. Send a message: Type your message and touch the send icon  Hangouts Android send .
    2. Make a video call: You also can make a video call to that person by touching the video call icon   .
    3. Start a phone call: Touch the phone icon .

Start a group Hangout: 

  1. Touch the compose icon   .
  2. Select a contact for your Hangout by typing the person's name, email address, or phone number in the search box. You can also select one of your contacts from the lists below the search box.
  3. Touch Anyone else? in the contact box at the top of the Hangout.
  4. Select one or more people to add to the Hangout.
  5. Touch OK.
  6. Type the message you'd like to send, and touch the send icon Hangouts Android send .

 

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Participating in a video Hangout that you've been invited to

  1. You need to be logged into your GC Google account in order to participate in a Google Hangout that someone has invited you to. 
  2. When the person contacts you through Hangouts, you will see a pop-up window appear. Depending on your computer, you will either have the option to either click the Decline button to decline, or click the Answer button to answer the request. Or, you will be presented with an option to "Click to join the video call." 
  3. If at any point you are prompted with a message that says, "Click Allow above to turn on your webcam," go ahead and click on the Allow button at the top. 

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Participating in a Hangout Message that you've been invited to

  1. You need to be logged into your GC Google account in order to participate in a Google Hangout Message that someone has invited you to. 
  2. When the person contacts you through Hangouts Messaging, you will see a pop-up window appear. 
  3. Place your cursor in the very bottom box to type a response to the person. You can also send emoticons by clicking on the emoticon icon, or attach pictures by clicking on the camera icon. 

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Using Hangouts to make phone calls to land lines and mobile phones

Using the Chrome Hangout extension in your browser on a computer

  1. After installing the Chrome browser Hangout Extension, click on the green Hangout icon in the upper right corner of your browser (it looks like a green apostrophe).

  2. Click on New Hangout
  3. Click the Phone icon
  4. By default, US is selected.  To change to another country, click on the American Flag icon and choose the appropriate country from the list. Calls to the US and Canada are free. Click here to check the rates for other countries. Note, that calling is not available in all areas
  5. In the search box, you can either:
    • click to select a person from the list of names that appear or type in a name to search your contacts list
    • or you can enter in the phone number to be dialed 

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Using the Hangout app on an iOS device to make calls

You can place domestic and international calls using a WiFi or data connection (like 4G) through Hangouts on iOS devices. If you have a Google Voice number, you can also receive calls. Calls to the U.S. and Canada are currently provided by Google free of charge from all countries where Hangouts calling is available. Also, you can make calls to destinations outside of the U.S. and Canada with low international rates.  Remember, if you use your data connection to make a phone call, you'll be using your mobile phone's data plan. Contact your mobile carrier for details about your data coverage and cost. 

  1. Install the Hangout app for iOS
  2. Add your contacts. If you're using Hangouts for the first time, add your contacts before making a call by following the steps below.
    • Open the Hangouts app on your iOS device.
    • The first time you start a new Hangout, you'll be asked whether Hangouts can access your iOS contacts. Touch OK.
  3. Make a phone call. Calling isn't available in some countries, such as Mexico and India. Learn more about where calling is available. For calls to destinations outside of the U.S. or Canada, you'll need to add credit to pay for calls. 
    • Open the Hangouts app on your iOS device.
    • Touch the phone icon  .
    • In the top right corner of the screen, touch the dial pad icon  .
    • Enter a phone number or touch People to search for a contact in your phone's address book.
    • Touch Call. If your contact has multiple phone numbers, select the one you want to call.
 

Using the Hangout app on an Android device to make calls

Use the Hangouts dialer to turn on voice calling in the Hangouts app on Android devices. After you turn on voice calling in Hangouts, you can make domestic and international calls through a Wi-Fi or data connection (like 4G). You can also receive calls if you have a Google Voice number. Calls to the U.S. and Canada are currently provided by Google free of charge from all countries where Hangouts calling is available. Calling isn't available in some countries, such as Mexico and India. Learn more about where calling is available. Also, you can make calls to destinations outside of the U.S. and Canada with low international rates. Remember, if you use your data connection to make a phone call, you'll be using your mobile phone's data plan. Contact your mobile carrier for details about your data coverage and cost. You'll only be using your mobile plan's minutes if you directly use your phone to make calls.

  1. Before you make your first phone call, you need to turn on phone calling in the Hangouts app on Android devices, make sure you do the following:
  2. Make a phone call
    • Open the Hangouts dialer. This will open the Hangouts app and turn on calling.
    • At the top of the Hangouts app's screen, touch the dial pad icon  .  
    • Type the name or phone number you want to dial. Or to dial a number using the dial pad, touch the dial pad icon   at the bottom of the screen. Then dial the phone number you'd like to call, and touch the phone icon 
  3. You can also start a phone call with someone during a Hangout. Touch the phone icon  , and you'll dial the person you're having a Hangout with. You won't be able to use the Hangouts app as the default dialer for outgoing calls. If you want to use a Wi-Fi or data connection to make calls all the time, you can set that up in the Google Voice app on your Android app.

For more information, go to https://support.google.com/hangouts/answer/6079055?hl=en&ref_topic=2944851 

If your call doesn't work or disconnects:

  • See if calling is available in your country.
  • Calls must have at least a 3G data connection or robust Wi-Fi connection to work.
  • You need to have an Android 2.3 or higher operating system.

Caller ID

When you make a call using Hangouts and have a Google Voice account, it will show your Google Voice phone number on the recipient's caller ID, not your device's number. If you don't have a Google Voice number, the caller ID will show as "unknown."

Cost

Calls from your Hangouts app won't use your mobile phone carrier's voice minutes, but they will use your data plan if you don't use WiFi for your calls. Contact your mobile phone provider for more details on charges and usage. Calls to the U.S. and Canada are currently free. If you're dialing to locations other than the U.S. or Canada, you'll see how much the call will cost after you enter the full phone number. If you don't have enough calling credit to make the call, we'll show you a warning message. To get calling credit, use your Android device's web browser or computer and go to the billing page.

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Keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts for Hangouts conversations can be found at https://support.google.com/hangouts/answer/3112005?hl=en&ref_topic=2944848 

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Additional Support from Google

For additional support with using Google Hangouts, visit Google's support page at https://support.google.com/hangouts 

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9/26/14 pg

Updated 2/3/15 pg

 

 

 

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