Getting started with Google+ Hangouts

The new 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. When you opt in, your users will be presented with an invitation to use the new Hangouts. When a user accepts the invitation, the new Hangouts will replace all other chat solutions for that user, including Google Chat and Google Talk.

If you currently use Google+ Hangouts for video calling, you can continue to do so without enabling the new Google+ Hangouts. For a comparison of Google+ Hangouts and Talk features, check out this chart.

As an Admin for your domain, you can enable the new Hangouts for your entire domain or for specific organizational units within it. Users will then have all the benefits of Hangouts on their devices. They can choose to opt in to the new Hangouts in Gmail.

Things to consider before you opt in

What Google Apps editions are supported?
  • Standard edition (free edition): Google+ Hangouts is automatically on for domains using Standard edition. Admins can choose to opt out for the domain or for organizational units within it whenever they want.
  • Business or Education editions: Google+ Hangouts is not automatically on for domains using these editions. After opting in, Admins can choose to opt out for the domain or for organizational units within it whenever they want.
Can users in your domain be in a Hangouts chat with people outside of your domain?

You can enable or disable the setting that allows users to text chat outside of your domain. If you allow external communication, Hangouts warns users that they're messaging outside of the domain, if they are chatting on their desktop. Please note that warn when chatting outside the domain will not work unless Contact sharing is enabled.

Can users in your domain be in a Hangouts video call with people outside of your domain?

With Google+ premium features, video calls are private to your domain. External participants must be invited directly to the calendar event or video call. They can join by clicking the link to the video call in the email event invitation or calendar event.

See Restricted access to Hangouts if you need public video calls for your domain.

What about other Talk/Chat settings that are already configured in the Admin panel?

Settings for Talk/Chat do not apply to the new Hangouts.

Can an Admin disable conversation history for users with the new Hangouts?

You can set how new Hangouts conversations start—with history on or off. However, your users can turn history on or off on a per-conversation basis. Their per-conversation setting overrides the admin setting.

Where are Hangouts messages stored?

When users save the history of a message, the message is stored in Hangouts and synchronized with Gmail. The message history becomes part of the user's Gmail archive (and is searchable in Google Apps Vault, if applicable).

Users can choose to save the history of a Hangouts chat. If they save the history, they can delete the history from their Gmail archives. Other people in the Hangout may still have the history in their archives.

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

No, but some features—starting or joining group video calls, sharing photos, and using circles to control who can reach you and how—require a Google+ profile.

Users with iOS devices require a Google+ profile to use the new Hangouts.

Does contact sharing work with the new Hangouts?

Yes, users will see auto-completion of contact names from the Global Address List.

Can an Admin view which contacts have the new Hangouts enabled?

Not at this time.

Does Hangouts 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 Vault, 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.

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. See the "How to opt in" section below.

Does chat in Google Drive work with the new Hangouts?

Yes. In order for chat to work where it is available in Google Drive, you must have a chat solution enabled—either the new Hangouts or Google Talk.