Getting started with Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts unifies chats, audio calls, and video meetings across all of your users' devices. Whether they're in Gmail, on the desktop, or on Android or iOS devices, your users won't miss a thing because all their Hangouts are synchronized.

Here is some additional information that you may find important:

How is Hangouts different for Google Apps customers?

Hangouts for Google Apps allows users within an organization to securely communicate with others in that same organization. Hangouts for Google Apps also synchronizes seamlessly with other Google Apps services, such as Calendar, Gmail, Google+, and Contacts. You can also hold multi-way Hangouts with up to 15 participants (consumer accounts can include up to 10 participants).

Google Apps also allows your organization to manage the user accounts used to access Hangouts, define organizational units, and perform other administrative features not available with the consumer Hangouts. Hangouts for Google Apps is enabled by default, unless intentionally disabled by an administrator.

Do users need a Google+ profile to use Google Hangouts?

No, but some features—using apps in video calls, sharing photos, and using circles to control who can reach you and how—require a Google+ profile. See the following for more information:

Are Hangouts for Google Apps supported on my Android or iOS Device? Does contact sharing work with Hangouts?

Yes, when you type an address in the search field, Hangouts will suggest addresses from your Contacts 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. When you find the person you want, click their name.

See Start a Hangout for more information.

Does Hangouts chat work with Google Apps Vault?

There is partial compatibility between Hangouts and Vault:

  • Any history-on (in other words, on-the-record) messages can be searched, exported, and placed on hold for eDiscovery purposes.
  • Retention and archiving policies will not be properly applied to history-on messages. For example, once a retention period has expired, history-on messages will be expunged from a user's Gmail mailbox, and they will no longer be searchable or exportable by Vault administrators or Vault users with the appropriate privileges. However, your users will still have access to their Hangouts histories within their Hangouts chat windows and Google+.

To enable Google Hangouts, you must understand how Hangouts works with Vault and then accept a Vault-Hangouts amendment. This amendment appears for your acceptance when you opt in to Hangouts in the Admin console.