August 30, 2021
How to Use Google Hangouts – Your Complete Guide

How to Use Google Hangouts – Your Complete Guide

Google Hangouts is a great way to stay in touch with your contacts on Google. Check out our video here and read on for a full tutorial on how to use Hangouts.

Accessing Hangouts

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To access Google Hangouts, first, log in to your Google account and go to hangouts.google.com.

If you’re logged in, go to your apps and click on Hangouts. If you use it frequently, you can drag and drop the app to the top of your apps menu. You can also download the Hangouts extension and link it to your Google account, or download it as an app on your computer.

An easy way to access meetings or chats is through your Gmail. On your Gmail homepage, the bottom left of your screen will show your active and inactive contacts. To access it, make sure your profile is set to “online.”

Hangouts is available as a mobile app as well, and it’s useful if you have different devices, they’ll all sync up.

Get Started

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To get started, make sure you’re logged into Hangouts. To invite a contact, click on Contacts in the left-hand menu and search for the email address or name of the person you want to invite. It’s best to search with their email address to ensure it’s the person you intend to message.

Click on their name to access the Chat feature. If they’re not using Hangout, the chatbox will show that your contact is not connected with you on Hangouts. You can click Send An Invite to send an email invitation for them to accept.

To accept a Google Hangouts invite, go to the Hangouts site, and a new conversation will show on the left-hand side. Click accept to open the chat and become contacts on Hangout.

Messaging Features

You can send messages in Hangout as an instant messenger chat.

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In the message feature, emojis are available to use either as keyboard shortcuts or click on the Emoji symbol to access all of them.

If you hover your mouse down in the right-hand corner of the chat, there are two options to Draw an Image or Insert an Image.

Clicking on the pencil will allow you to Draw An Image, where you can draw text or a doodle to send to your contact through Hangouts.

Clicking on the photograph will allow you to Insert an Image and send a photo from your computer, your Google Drive or Google Photos, or take a picture with your Web Camera.

Upload Photos – send an image from your computer. Drag and drop a photo onto the box or select a photo from your computer manually.

Auto Backup – send an image from your Google device that is backed up on Google Photos.

Photos – send an image from Google Photos or Google Drive

Albums – send an image from Google Photos or Google Drive. It allows you to find the image through the albums you’ve saved.

Video search – send an image through the web using a YouTube search.

Web camera – take a photo using your web camera and send it to the chat.

Group Conversations

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If you want more than one person in your chat, click the Add Contacts button on the top left corner of the chatbox.

You can search for people or select someone in your contacts.

Adding someone will start a new chatbox with the contact you selected and the contact you were chatting with. This will let you send chat messages, phone calls, and video calls in a group conversation.

Phone Call

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To make a phone call in Hangouts, click on the Phone Call icon either in the middle of the page or on the left-hand menu.

You can call contacts through email or phone number.

Call Through Email

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Search the person’s name or email address in the search bar. If you’re searching their name, make sure you’re calling the right person by confirming their email address.

If you’re calling a phone number, you’ll need credit to call them internationally. You can pay and refill this credit by linking a method of payment to Google Pay.

If you’re calling a phone number within the United States or Canada, the phone call is free of charge if you’re calling landline or mobile numbers.

In the United States, you can receive calls on Google Hangout using Google Voice. As long as you have a US Google Voice account and number, you will be able to make and receive calls, text messages, and voicemails through Hangouts. In Canada, this feature is unavailable, but you’re still able to call any phone number in Canada or the US using Google Hangouts.

Video Call

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Clicking on the Video Call icon on the Hangouts homepage will open up a new page. This will let you set up a new Hangout conversation where you can start a video conferencing call.

To start a video chat, select the chatbox that you want to contact. In the top left corner of the chatbox, click the camera icon to start a video chat. This will notify your contacts on the Hangouts app and through Gmail that you’re calling them.

First, name your Hangout to create the video call. After you hit enter, a new hangout video call will appear.

To get someone to join your call, hit the Invite People button, either in the middle of the screen or using the icon on the top menu.

Add the email address of the people you’d like to invite or search for their name if they’re in your contacts already. They will receive a message through Hangouts and on their Gmail.

Video chats can host up to 10 people at once, which makes it useful for group chats and meetings.

Controls

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The control panel can be found on top of the screen.

  • Invite people – invite Google contacts through name and email address to join your video call.
  • Mute microphone – mute your own microphone, which will turn off your microphone to everyone who’s listening in the call. To turn back on, simply click the icon again.
  • Turn camera off – turn off your web camera, which will disable your video to everyone who’s listening in the call. To turn back on, simply click the icon again.
  • Adjust bandwidth usage – Allows you to change the bandwidth usage of the video call. This is a helpful tool if you are experiencing delays due to your internet speed. Adjusting the bandwidth to a lower speed will decrease your video quality but allow for less lagging.
  • Settings will show you additional settings, like your video and microphone inputs, as well as adjusting bandwidth speed.

Menu

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In the app downloads section, there are links to download Hangouts on your computer. Click on the version that applies to your device.

  • Android – downloads to your computer if you have a PC
  • iOS – app for iPhones / Apple devices
  • Chrome – downloads as an extension to your Google Chrome web browser
  • Hangouts Dialer – download an extension to Hangouts that lets you call landline and mobile phone numbers
  • Settings – toggle settings for receiving notifications, invited, hidden contacts, blocked people, etc.
  • Help & Feedback – pops up a separate Help box that allows you to search for any help with navigating Hangouts. You can also send feedback to the Google team regarding the Hangouts app.

On Mobile

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Hangouts is an app available on iOS and Android phones. When you open the app, you can access current chat and call history.

Notifications for any chats, phone calls, and video calls will show up just like text and call notifications on your phone.

Click on the Menu button on the top left of the screen to access settings, like changing your status, adjusting notifications, accessing your contacts lists, viewing invites, viewing archived conversations, and additional settings.

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On top of the menu, you’ll see your profile photo, name, and email. If you click on the downwards pointing arrow, you’ll be able to change Google accounts and toggle between them.

All of your chats sync up across devices. So any chats and phone call history will be visible on your mobile app, computer app, and web browser will be up-to-date.

To start a new conversation, phone call, or video call, hit the Plus button on the bottom right of the screen. Choose a contact(s), and the Hangout will be started.

To make a phone call, hit the dial pad and dial the phone number just as you would dialing a phone.

Hangouts is a quick app to use and handy to have on all your devices to reach your Google contacts.

Hangouts in Gmail

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On the left-hand side of your Gmail, Hangouts chats and your online contacts will be visible in a list. Click on the conversation to have a box pop up on the bottom right for easy access. You can also start a video or phone call as well through this pop-up box.