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

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
  • Windows
  • Chrome
  • 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 plug-in.

Currently, Firefox compatibility is experimental and may change without notice. 

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

Use Hangouts

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.

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