Start a video call on your computer

You can connect with family, friends, or coworkers through face-to-face video calls. You can chat with up to 9 other people in a Hangouts video call.

On Android or iOS? Read how to start a Hangout on your phone.

Before you start your first video call

  • Check the system requirements for Hangouts.
  • Connect a camera, microphone, and speakers, and make sure they have the latest software.
  • To improve audio and video quality, Hangouts calls use a direct peer-to-peer connection when possible, instead of routing through a server.
  • Allow Hangouts to use your computer's camera and microphone.
  • Internet Explorer, Firefox & Safari browsers: Download and install the latest version of the Hangouts plugin.

Allow Hangouts to use your camera & microphone

Chrome users

Hangouts video calls need to use your computer's camera and microphone so you can start your video call.

If you're using a work, school, or other account that does NOT end in @gmail.com: You might need to download and install the latest version of the Hangouts plugin.

Allow camera & microphone access

  1. On your computer, open Hangouts at hangouts.google.com.
  2. Click Video call . A message will appear at the top of the video call window to access your computer's camera and microphone.
  3. Click Allow. You only need to do this once. The Chrome browser will remember your choice for future Hangouts.
    • Recording icon Red circle: The video call is using your camera and microphone.
    • Video camera icon Video camera in Chrome: The video call is allowed to use your camera and microphone.

Change setting to allow access

If you don't see the Allow option, or if you previously clicked Block but changed your mind, you can change a setting to let Hangouts use your camera and microphone.

  1. On your computer, open Hangouts at hangouts.google.com.
  2. Click Video call .
  3. At the top right of the video call window, click the disallowed camera icon Video camera with X in Chrome.
  4. Click Always allow https://plus.google.com to access your camera and microphone.
  5. Click Done. The video call will automatically connect. If you don't see the call refresh, exit and re-enter the call.
Firefox users

Step 1: Install the Hangouts plugin

  1. On your computer, open the Hangouts plugin page.
  2. Click Download Plugin.
  3. Open and install the plugin.

Step 2: Allow camera & microphone access 

  1. On your computer, open Hangouts at hangouts.google.com.
  2. Click Video call . An error message will appear at the top of the video call window about your computer's camera and microphone.
  3. At the top left of the video call window, click the gray block icon .
  4. Run the Hangouts plugin by clicking Activate.
  5. Choose a setting for the Hangouts plugin:
    1. Activate now: Allow the plugin to work for this video call, and ask again for future video calls.
    2. Always activate: Allow the plugin to work for this video call and for future video calls.
  6. Reload the video call window.

Change setting to allow activation

If you don't see the Activate option, or if you previously clicked Never activate but changed your mind, you can change a setting to let Hangouts use your camera and microphone.

  1. In Firefox, click the menu button.
  2. Click Add-ons > Plug-ins.
  3. Find the Hangouts plugin. It may be labeled as the “Google Talk Plugin and Google Talk Plugin Video Renderer.”
  4. Choose Always activate.
Safari users

Step 1: Install the Hangouts plugin

  1. On your computer, open the Hangouts plugin page.
  2. Click Download Plugin.
  3. Open and install the plugin.

Step 2: Allow camera & microphone access 

  1. On your computer, open Hangouts at hangouts.google.com.
  2. Click Video call . A message will appear at the top of the video call window to trust your computer's camera and microphone.
  3. Click Trust.
  4. Reload the video call window.

Change setting to allow trust

If you don't see the Trust option, or if you previously clicked Cancel but changed your mind, you can change a setting to let Hangouts use your camera and microphone.

  1. In Safari, click Preferences.
  2. Open Security > Manage website settings.
  3. Find the Hangouts plugin. It may be labeled as the “Google Talk Plugin and Google Talk Plugin Video Renderer.”
  4. Click Allow.

Start a video call

  1. Open Hangouts at hangouts.google.com or in Gmail.
  2. Select a person from the Hangouts list or search for their name or email address. When you find the person you want, click their name.
    • To start a group video call, for each person in your group, type their name and check the box in front of their name.
  3. Click the video icon .

When you're done with your video call, you can leave by pointing to the bottom of the window and clicking the end call icon Call end icon.

If you're having problems with video calling, try these troubleshooting steps.

Other settings for video calls

Share your video call link

You can invite your friends to a video call by sharing a link.

  1. At the top of the video call window, click the invite people icon .
  2. Click Copy link to share. It will be automatically copied to your clipboard.
  3. Paste the link in an email, chat window, or anywhere else that you want to share the video call information. To paste the link, press Command+V (Mac keyboards) or Control+V (PCs and Chromebooks).
Add people after the video call has started

Anyone in the Hangout can add more people after the video call starts, and anyone with a Google Account can join a video call.

  1. At the top of the video call window, click the invite people icon .
  2. Type someone's name or email address.
  3. Click Invite.

You can participate in a video Hangout with up to 9 other people.

Require guests to be 18+ to join this video call

You can make the video Hangout only available to people who are 18 years of age or older. Other Hangout participants won't be able to invite people under 18 years old.

Once the video Hangout starts, the 18+ restriction can't be changed. You’ll need to start a new video call.

Change video call options

You can change your video call options during the Hangout.

  • Mute camera or microphone: Point to the bottom of the video call window, and icons will appear for muting your microphone or camera.
  • Settings: At the top right of the video call window, click the settings icon . You can change your video call settings, like choosing your camera, microphone and speaker devices or sending diagnostics.
  • Share screen: At the top right of the video call window, click Options Options > Share screen. You can share what's on your screen with the other people in the video call.
  • Fullscreen: At the top right of the video call window, click Options Options > Fullscreen. The video call will take up your entire screen.

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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