Getting started with Hangouts
You can use Hangouts to:
- Start a Hangout conversation or video call
- Make phone calls using Wi-Fi or data.
- Send text messages with your Google Voice or Project Fi phone number.
Hangouts sync automatically across devices. If you start a Hangout on your computer, you can continue your chat on another device, like your phone.
Watch how Hangouts works
What you need to use Hangouts
- A Google account.
- A computer or phone with a camera and microphone. Learn how to use your camera and microphone when you start a video call for the first time.
- An internet or data connection.
System and browser requirements
Before you use Hangouts, check if your computer has these:
Operating systems that work with Hangouts
Hangouts works with the current version and 2 previous major releases of the operating systems listed below.
- Mac OS X
- Ubuntu and other Debian-based Linux distributions
Web browsers that work with Hangouts
Hangouts works with the current version and 1 previous major release of the browsers listed below.
On Internet Explorer, and Safari, download and install the latest version of the Hangouts plugin.At the moment, some versions of Firefox can't be used to make video calls. Learn why and how you can continue to make video calls.
What you need to make video calls
- Broadband connection to the Internet
- USB web camera. Other devices, like virtual cameras, may not work.
- Any quad-core processor.
How much bandwidth you need
Hangouts changes how much bandwidth is used based on your network.
Minimum bandwidth required
- Outbound: 300 kbps
- Inbound: 300 kbps
Ideal bandwidth for two-person video calls
- Outbound: 3.2 mbps
- Inbound: 2.6 mbps
Ideal bandwidth for group video calls
- Outbound: 3.2 mbps
- Inbound (with 5 participants): 3.2 mbps
- Inbound (with 10+ participants): 4.0 mbps
Hangouts can be used in:
Once you choose an app, learn how to sign in to Hangouts.
Megan is a Hangouts expert and the author of this help page. Help her improve this article by leaving feedback below.