Get started with Hangouts

Hangouts basics in 1 min.

You can use Hangouts to send messages, make voice and video calls, and share photos.

Hangouts are synced automatically across devices, so you can start a Hangout on your computer and continue on another device, like your phone.

What you can do with Hangouts

  • Send Hangouts messages: You can start a Hangout conversation with just one person or have a group chat with several people.
  • Make video calls: Have face-to-face video calls with up to 9 other people. You can invite individuals or circles.
  • Make phone calls: Almost all calls you make to the U.S. and Canada are free, but a few destinations will cost USD 1 cent per minute depending on the specific phone number. Costs may vary depending on the local currency. Calls to destinations outside of the U.S. are at low rates, but calling isn't available to all locations.
  • Send text messages: You can send text messages using Hangouts with your Android device or your Google Voice phone number.
  • Share photos, locations, and stickers: You can share photos, stickers, and emoji in conversations. On mobile devices, you can also share your location with other people.

What you need to get started on Hangouts

  • A Google Account.
  • The Hangouts plugin. Download the latest version to use Hangouts with Firefox and Safari browsers. If you use a Chrome browser, you don't need to install a plugin, but you do need to allow Hangouts to access your computer's mic and camera so that you can start a video call.

You can sign in to Hangouts on more than one device:

On a computer

Gmail
You'll need to turn on Hangouts in Gmail from your Google Chat menu. At the top of your Chat list, click your profile photo, and click Try the new Hangouts.
Inbox by Gmail
Hangouts is automatically turned on in Inbox by Gmail.
Google+
Hangouts is automatically turned on in Google+.
Chrome browser extension
To see your Hangouts windows outside of your browser window, download the Hangouts Chrome extension. A Chrome browser or Chrome OS device is required. You can't use Windows 8 Metro Mode.
Chrome desktop app
Download the Hangouts Chrome desktop app. The app is supported on Windows, Chrome OS, Mac, and Linux operating systems.

On a mobile device

Android devices
Download the Hangouts app for Android devices. If you want to make phone calls, you'll need to download the Hangouts Dialer to turn on calling in the Hangouts app.
iOS devices
Download the Hangouts app for iOS devices.

Use Hangouts with Google+

To start Hangouts with Google+ circles or share your Google+ photos, you'll need a Google+ account.

Caroline is a Hangouts expert and author of this help page. Leave her feedback below about the page.

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