Getting started with Google Hangouts



Getting started with Google Hangouts
Getting started with Google
Learning guide
About Hangouts
Get hanging out
What are Google
Start a hangout from
Getting around
Start a hangout from
Check your video &
Hangout tips
Hangout Apps
Text chat & screenshare
Collaborate on Google
Drive files
Join a Hangout
Hangout toolbox
More apps
First time using this learning guide? Move through the slides in order using your arrow keys.
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What are Google Hangouts?
Google Hangouts allow you to have one-to-one or group conversations using
text chat, voice or video calls.
Video hangouts can have up to 10 participants (or up to 15 if you are using a
Google Apps account at your school or organisation). During a video Hangout,
participants can collaborate live using Hangout apps.
Hangouts work from within Gmail and Google+, and from mobile devices.
This learning guide will focus on video Hangouts
Google+ profile*
To use the full functionality of video Hangouts, you need to have joined Google+. If you have not done this, please see
our Getting Started with Google+ learning guide.
Video and audio equipment
You will need a webcam, microphone and speakers (or a headset).
It is recommended that you use Hangouts in the Google Chrome browser.
Hangouts plugin (non-Google Chrome users only)
If you are not using the Google Chrome browser, you will need to install the Hangouts plugin. You can do this now, or
wait until you are prompted to install it when starting/joining your first hangout.
*Note: If you are using a Google Apps account belonging to your school or organisation, you can use video Hangouts without joining Google+.
However, some functionality will be limited. This will be indicated in relevant sections of the learning guide, with more information here.
Don’t have
Start a Hangout (1 of 2)
From Google+
1. Open Google+
2. Click the Hangouts button on the far right.
Learn how to start a
Hangout from Gmail
5. Click in the Send an invitation box and select who
you want to Hangout with. You can type individual’s names or
email addresses, or invite a whole circle.
3. A list of your Hangout contacts will pop-out. Hover over
Start a video Hangout button at the bottom of the list.
4. Click Start a video Hangout.
6. Click Invite.
Tip: Before hanging out with other people, it’s a good
idea to do a test Hangout by yourself. You can just click
Close on the invitation screen to have a Hangout on your
Start a Hangout (2 of 2)
From Gmail
1. Open Gmail.
2. In your chat list, Click the name of the person (or one
of the people) you want to Hangout with.
3. The Hangouts text chat window will open. Click the
video camera button at the top.
4. The Hangout will open and an invitation will be sent to
the person.
5. Invite other people to the Hangout using the Invite
people button at the top of the Hangout window.
Note: You can also use this method from the chat list
within Google+.
Tip: If you want to hangout with multiple people, you
could add them all to the text Hangout first, and then start
the video Hangout. This will send invitations to everyone
at once. To invite people to a text Hangout, click the Add
button (next to the video camera button).
How do I add a
Hangout to a calendar
Join a Hangout
Learn how here
From Google+ or Gmail
From a calendar invitation
When someone in your circles invites you to a hangout,
you will receive a pop-up notification in Gmail and/or
Google+ (whatever you have open at the time). Click
Accept to join the hangout.
Hangouts can be added to Google Calendar events. If
you have been invited to a calendar event with a
1. Hover over the event in calendar.
2. Click the Join video call link.
Note: You may also receive an email to notify you that
you are being invited to a hangout. Click on the link in the
email to join the hangout.
Getting around Hangouts
Check your video & audio
When you start or join a hangout, you should always
check that your webcam, microphone and speakers are
working correctly.
1. Click the Settings (cog) button at the top of the
Hangouts window.
2. Ensure the webcam, microphone and speakers you
are using are selected.
Tip: If you are using an external webcam or headset you
may need to select these from the drop-down boxes.
3. Ensure the webcam image is displaying in the box on
the right.
4. Speak and ensure that your microphone is detected
(green dots will appear on the left of the microphone icon)
5. Click the Play test sound link and ensure you can
hear the sound.
Text chat & screenshare
Text chat
The text chat app is really useful if you are having audio
or video problems. It is also great for collecting questions
or discussion during a hangout.
1. Click the Chat button in the left-side menu.
2. Type your chat message and press enter.
Note: Chat messages are visible to every person who is
in the hangout.
Screenshare can be used to show other people in the
hangout what you have on your computer screen.
1. Click the Screenshare button in the left-side menu.
2. Select the screen or window you want to share and
click Share.
Collaborate on Google Drive files
with a
Docs, Sheets, Slides and Drawings from Google Drive
can be added to a Hangout. This allows everyone in the
hangout to collaborate on the share files while seeing and
hearing each other.
1. Click the Google Drive icon in the left-side menu.
2. Select an existing file from your Google Drive OR click
Create shared notes to start a new document.
Tip: If the file you add is not shared with the other people
in the hangout, you will be prompted to share it with
To add additional files to the hangout
1. Click the arrow on the top-left of the document to
expand the menu.
2. Click Add.
3. Select the file to open.
Note: Anyone in a Hangout can add files.
with a
The YouTube app lets you add a YouTube clip to the
hangout, allowing everyone to watch it together. You can
stop, start and pause the video for everyone.
1. Click the YouTube button in the left-side menu.
2. Click the Add videos to playlist button.
3. Search for a video or paste in a YouTube URL.
4. Click the + button next to the video to add it to the
hangout. It will start playing straight away.
5. Search for more videos to add to the hangout playlist,
or click Back when you’re done.
Note: Everyone’s microphone is automatically muted
while the video is playing. Click the Push to talk button
to temporarily un-mute your microphone.
Hangout toolbox
with a
Hangout Toolbox is a third-party app that adds extra
functionality to your hangout.
Add the app to your hangout
1. Click the three dots button at the bottom of the leftside menu.
2. Click the +Add Apps button.
3. Find and hover over Hangout Toolbox.
4. Click +Install Hangout extension.
5. Click Accept.
Using the app
Click the buttons at the top to access the functions.
Lower third: Put your name and a tagline at the bottom
of your webcam image.
Volume control: Adjust the audio for other people in the
hangout, or mute the whole hangout.
Comment tracker: See comments about the hangout
from other sources such as YouTube or Google+.
Learn more about
Hangout Toolbox on their
More apps
with a
There are heaps more apps you can add to a Hangout,
here are just a few. Each person who wants to use the
app needs to add it to the hangout.
Take screenshots of the hangout.
Google Effects
Add sound effects, backgrounds, silly hats and more to
your hangout.
Remote control
Control another hangout participant’s computer remotely
(with their permission)
Story Before Bed
Read a story book to your child from afar.
Create and share sticky notes on a digital whiteboard.
Cacoo for Hangouts
Create and collaborate on diagrams
Get a free phone number for participants to access the
hangout from a voice line.
Google Art Project
Take a tour of famous art galleries during your hangout.
Find and install more apps
1. Click the three dots button at the bottom of the leftside menu.
2. Click the +Add Apps button.
Tip: This only shows you some of the available apps. For
a complete list of apps, visit
Hangout tips
Schedule hangouts using Google calendar events
If you are planning a Hangout in advance, the easiest way to get everyone together is to schedule the hangout using a
Google Calendar event. When creating the event, click the Add video call link to add a hangout. Invite all the hangout
participants to the calendar event, and ask them to click on the Join video call link when it is time for the hangout.
Deal with a poor quality connection
Hangouts generally work well over most internet connections. However, if you or other participants are on a very poor
connection, turning off the webcams and just using audio can help improve the experience.
Get the Hangout app for Chrome
If you use Google Chrome, install the Hangouts app to make sure you never miss a Hangout. It will pop-up
notifications for new text, voice and video hangouts, without the need to have Gmail or Google+ open.
Hangout from your mobile device
You can join or start a hangout from Android and iOS mobile devices (smartphones and tablets). This is great for when
you are on the move. Note that you cannot use Hangout apps from a mobile device. Install the Hangout app on your
device from the Play Store (Android) or App Store (iOS).
What’s next?
Congratulations on getting started with Google Hangouts!
If you are ready to learn more, check out the following learning guides
Hangouts on Air
If you want to keep this learning guide, please select File > Make a copy to save your own copy
in Google Drive. You must be signed-in to your Google account to make a copy.
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