About voice and video chat

The new Google+ Hangouts—a solution that replaces all other chat experiences, including Google Chat and Google Talk—is now available. Google Apps Admins can decide whether or not to opt in to this new messaging experience for their users. For more information, see the The new Google+ Hangouts article.
Voice and video calls in Gmail work only in supported browsers.

Sometimes reading a chat message doesn't deliver the same impact as hearing the message or having a face-to-face conversation. You might therefore want to use voice and video capabilities in your Gmail chat. From within Gmail, you can have an actual voice conversation with someone, or even chat face-to-face over video.

When you participate in a video call in Gmail, you use Google+ Hangouts:

  • Google+ users can join a video call from Gmail with up to nine other people and the full functionality of Google+ Hangouts. (If you have activated Google+ premium features, you can chat with up to 15 people.)
  • If you haven't enabled Google+, users can hold 1:1 video chats with a limited version of Google+ Hangouts. When a user starts a video call, the call will pop out into its own Hangouts window.
  • If a Google+ user starts a Hangouts video call with someone who does not have Google+, or vice versa, both participants will see the 1:1 video call experience.

See Make a computer-to-computer voice or video call and review the Hangouts system requirements to get started using video calls in Gmail. For more information about voice and video calls features in Talk or Hangouts, see our feature comparison chart.

Note that Hangouts in Gmail and Calendar respect the Google Admin console setting for disabling video calls. If you have video calls disabled, users won’t be able to participate in Hangouts or the legacy video chat functionality.

To disable Hangouts video calls
  1. Sign in to the Google Admin console.
  2. Click Google Apps > Talk/Hangouts.
    Where is it?
  3. Select the organization where you want to disable video calls.
  4. In the Additional Services section, uncheck Allow users to place video calls from chat to other chat users.