Start using Hangouts

Hangouts keeps you connected with your co-workers, and people in other organizations. You can chat with up to 150 people on a variety of devices, or hold a video call with up to 25 participants in your organization (the 10 most active participants are shown at the bottom of the screen).

Use the following resources to get started.

What’s new in Hangouts chat?

Hangouts combines advanced chat with easy to use video calls, and is designed to work seamlessly across an assortment of desktop and mobile devices. Here's a quick video to introduce some of the changes.

New for Hangouts | The Apps Show

And here's a summary of even more benefits and features available with Google Hangouts.

What's new Description
Support for all your devices

Hangouts chat takes full advantage of the growing number of devices used at work. For example, if you start a Hangout on your laptop, you can easily continue the same conversation on your mobile device.

Google Talk, on the other hand, was created before many people brought multiple devices to work. For example, Google Talk notifications are not automatically muted on new devices.

Integrated video and chat on mobile devices

You can start a video call while chatting in the Hangouts mobile app, and even tap the back arrow to shrink the video and continue chatting. 

To get started, install Hangouts on all your devices and visit the Hangouts Help Center to learn more.

Chat with large groups

Use Hangouts to chat with up to 150 people using a variety of devices, including Gmail, the Hangouts mobile app, or the Chrome plug-in. You can also name the group conversation, save it, and quickly invite more users. Learn more

After the conversation, you can still access the Hangout group’s message history.

Note: Co-workers can only join group conversations using Hangouts. They can’t join using Google Talk or a third-party messaging app.

Status messages for a multidevice workplace

With Hangouts, people can see if you are online and available, or not. Other status messages, such as “idle” or “busy” aren’t included because they don’t always apply when people use multiple devices. For example, your computer at work might be idle, but the mobile phone in your pocket means you’re still available.  

You can still enter a custom status message.  Learn more

If you’re not online:

  • Any messages sent to you are saved and delivered later.
  • A status message tells others when you were last seen on Hangouts. 

Tip: "Invisible status" isn't available in Hangouts chat. To hide when you were last seen using Hangouts, uncheck Show when you were last seen online in your chat settings menu (click the drop-down menu next to your name in Gmail). The green status bar or dot will not appear next to your name, and your "last seen" state will not be shown. You can still send and receive messages. Learn more

Hangouts can store your conversation

Hangouts can manage your conversations in real-time. You (or your administrator) can automatically save or discard all conversations, or you can choose to save or discard each individual conversation.

Google Talk messages, however, cannot be managed once delivered. For example, the messages can be delivered to the Adium chat client without your control.

Sharing is easy You can share all kinds of useful things while chatting with Hangouts. Share a map location if you’re discussing a conference site, share drawings of your latest plans, or display photos from a social gathering right in the context of your conversation.
Enhanced emoji Select from an expanded set of emoji to liven up your conversation. Hangouts can even detect specific phrases in your messages, like “Happy birthday,” and offer options for animated stickers.
Turn on Hangouts chat in Gmail

If your organization switches from Google Talk to Hangouts chat, you may be asked to opt-in the first time you use chat in Gmail.

Note: Existing G Suite accounts that use Google Talk will soon be automatically switched to Google Hangouts.

  1. Open Gmail.
  2. Find the chat list on the left side of your inbox and click the arrow next to your profile picture.
  3. Click Try the new Hangouts.
  4. Your chat will refresh and now you’ll see pictures next to people’s names instead of just circles.

If the message doesn’t appear, then you’re already using Hangouts chat, or will be automatically upgraded when you refresh Gmail.
Get started with Hangouts chat and video calls

Review the following information to get started with chat and video calls.

Resource Description
Install Hangouts on all your devices Install the Hangouts apps on your desktop and mobile devices to join Hangouts wherever you are.
Google Learning Center

Review these quick tutorials and you’ll be chatting and starting video calls in no time.

Review the tips for quick answers to common tasks, such as searching your Hangouts history.

The G Suite Show videos Watch these short and informative videos to get the most out of Hangouts.
Hangouts business processes Use these common use cases to better understand how Hangouts can transform the way you work.
Hangouts chat FAQ for G Suite users Learn more about the switch to Hangouts chat.
Learn more at the Hangouts Help Center

The Google Hangouts Help Center includes complete instructions for using Hangouts chat and video calls. Topics include:

and more!

Create a video conference room with Chromebox for meetings

Google Hangouts is also the technology behind Chromebox for meetings, which turns any meeting space into a video conference room.

Watch this short video for a quick summary, and visit the Chromebox for meetings help center to get started.

Was this helpful?
How can we improve it?