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Start a video call

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

Before you start your first video call

  • Check the system requirements for Hangouts.
  • Connect a camera, microphone, and speakers to your computer. Make sure they have the latest software.
  • When asked to use your computer's camera and microphone, click Allow.
  • Download and install the latest version of the Hangouts plugin for Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari browsers.

Allow Hangouts to use your camera and microphone

Chrome

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 doesn’t end in @gmail.com, you might need to download and install the latest version of the Hangouts plugin.

Allow camera & microphone access

  1. Open hangouts.google.com.
  2. Click Video call Video call. A message will appear at the top of the video call window.
  3. Click Allow. You only need to do this once. You can allow to use:
    • Recording Recording: The video call is using your camera and microphone.
    • Video camera Video camera: The video call is using your camera and microphone.

Change setting to allow access

If you aren’t asked to allow access or if you blocked access before, you can change your settings.

  1. Open hangouts.google.com.
  2. Click Video call Video call.
  3. In the top right, click Camera error Disallowed media.
  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

Step 1: Install the Hangouts plugin

  1. Open the Hangouts plugin page.
  2. Click Download Plugin.
  3. Open and install the plugin.

Step 2: Allow camera & microphone access 

  1. Open hangouts.google.com.
  2. Click Video call Video call
  3. In the top left, click Block content Firefox plugin.
  4. To run the Hangouts plugin, click Activate.
  5. Choose a setting for the Hangouts plugin:
    • Activate now: Let the plugin work for this video call, but ask again for future video calls.
    • Always activate: Let the plugin work for this and future video calls.
  6. Reload the video call window.

Change a setting to allow activation

If you don't see the Activate option or you’ve never activated your camera or microphone before, you can change your settings.

  1. In Firefox, click the Menu.
  2. Click Add-ons and then Plug-ins.
  3. Find the Hangouts plugin. You might see “Google Talk Plugin and Google Talk Plugin Video Renderer.”
  4. Choose Always activate.

Safari

Step 1: Install the Hangouts plugin

  1. Open the Hangouts plugin page.
  2. Click Download Plugin.
  3. Open and install the plugin.

Step 2: Allow camera & microphone access 

  1. Open hangouts.google.com.
  2. Click Video call Video call and thenTrust.
  3. Reload the video call window.

Change a setting to allow trust

If you don't see the Trust option or you’ve canceled this option before, you can change your settings.

  1. In Safari, click Preferences.
  2. Open Security and then Manage website settings.
  3. Find the Hangouts plugin. You might see  “Google Talk Plugin and Google Talk Plugin Video Renderer.”
  4. Click Allow.

Start a video call

  1. Open hangouts.google.com or on the sidebar 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. You can also check multiple people to start a group video call. 
  3. Click Video call Video call.
  4. When you're done, click End call Call end icon.
  5. If you have problems calling, try these troubleshooting steps.

Other settings for video calls

Add people by name or email address

Anyone in a video call can add more people after the video call starts. Anyone invited to join the video call must have  a Google Account.

  1. In the video call window, tap the screen.
  2. At the top, click Add people  
  3. Type someone's name or email address.
  4. Click Invite.

Add people by sharing a link

  1. In the video call window, click the screen.
  2. At the top, click Add people and thenCopy link to share Link.
  3. To invite people to the call, click the link to copy it. Then, paste the link into emails, chats, or somewhere else. To join a call, users will need to sign in. Anyone with the link will be able to join the call.

Change video call options

You can change your video call options during the video call. To see your options, click the screen.

  • Turn off camera or mute microphone: Click the icons to turn off your camera or mute your microphone.
  • Settings: At the top, click Settings Settings. You can change settings like your camera, microphone and speaker devices.
  • Share screen: To share your screen with other people in the video call, click More More and then Screenshare .
  • Fullscreen: To make the video call take up your entire screen, click More More and thenFullscreen.

Brenna is a Hangouts expert and the author of this help page. Help her improve this article by leaving feedback below.

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