Hangouts video calls FAQ for administrators

This article describes the original version of Hangouts (for video calls only). Consider enabling the new Google+ Hangouts to unify chats, audio calls, and video meetings across all of your users' devices.

Look here for frequently asked questions about Google+ Hangouts administration issues.

What are Hangouts video calls?

Hangouts video calls provide multi-way voice and video meetings, with document and screen sharing. Connect with up to 15 people around the world at the same time, with encrypted true-to-life video and high fidelity audio.

Is there a participant or time limit in Hangouts video calls?

Hangouts video calls are limited to 10 video conference participants, with no time limit. You can also use Hangouts On Air to broadcast a Hangout to many more people, though there is still a limit of 10 active participants.

If you activate Google+ premium features, the limit increases to 15 participants for Hangouts created from Google Calendar events.

Who can join our Hangouts video calls?

When users start a Hangouts video call, they can invite individuals, one or more of their circles, or a combination of both. That can include people outside of your domain or organization.

If you activate Google+ premium features, Hangouts video calls are private to your domain, and external participants must be directly invited to the event or video call to join.

Is the content of our Hangouts video calls secure if users join remotely?

All Hangouts video and audio streams are encrypted, so when users are off site, they can still join Hangouts video calls securely from outside of your company without VPN. In addition, all other features of Hangouts (such as integrated chat and Google Drive files) are served over https, with the exception of YouTube content.

Is information shared during a Hangouts video call retained by the Hangout or Google+ once the session is closed?

No. Information shared during the Hangouts video call, such as Google Drive files, group chats, and screenshares, is not stored during or after the Hangout by Google+ Hangouts or Google+.

Do Hangouts work peer-to-peer or run through Google's network?

Hangouts video calls run through Google's network in order to provide the best user experience and integrate with Google Drive files, Chat, and other Google products.

Can I enable Google+ but disable Hangouts in my organization?

Yes, but it will also disable all video chats with more than two participants, including those started from Gmail. Hangouts respect the video chat setting in the Admin console.

To disable all Hangouts and 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.
Hangouts also require that the voice chat setting is enabled.


What does each user need to install to use Hangouts video calls?

They will need to have the Google video chat plug-in installed. You can get it here. This is required to place a video call from Google Talk or Gmail, or to enter a Hangout. Each user will be prompted to install this plug-in when first joining or starting a hangout, if they don't already have it.

Do you have an offline installer or an MSI for the plug-in?

Yes, we now have an MSI installer for Windows environments. Otherwise users are prompted to install the plug-in when joining or starting a hangout, if they don't already have it.

What are the system requirements to use Hangouts? I've disabled Google+ and no longer use Hangouts. How do I uninstall the plug-in?

If you decide to disable Google+, you can still keep the plug-in for Google Talk text, voice, and video chats. (The Google Talk service is also known as Chat.)

If you also don't use Google Talk and you want to uninstall the video plug-in, follow the steps below.

To uninstall in Windows:

  1. Access the Windows Program Manager:
    • For Windows XP, click Start > Settings > Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs.
    • For Windows Vista, click Start > Settings > Programs and Features.
    • For Windows 7, click Start > Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features.
  2. Scroll down and select the Google Talk plug-in.
  3. Click Remove or Uninstall.

To uninstall in Mac OS X:

  1. In Finder, navigate to Applications > Utilities.
  2. Open the Terminal application.
  3. Copy and paste the following command into the window:
    ./Library/Application Support/Google/
  4. Press Enter on your keyboard.