Start a video call

You can connect with family, friends or colleagues via face-to-face video calls. Video calls can include up to 25 people.

Before you start your first video call

  • Check the systems requirements for Hangouts.
  • Connect a camera, microphone and speakers to your computer. Make sure that 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 plug-in for the 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 that you can start your video call.

If you're using a work, school/university or other account that doesn't end in @gmail.com, you might need to download and install the latest version of the Hangouts plug-in.

Allow camera and 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 the use of:
    • 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 settings to allow access

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

  1. Open hangouts.google.com.
  2. Click Video call Video call.
  3. At the top right, click Camera error Disallowed media.
  4. Click Always allow https://hangouts.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: Download and install Firefox ESR

At the moment, some versions of Firefox can't be used to make video calls. To continue using video calls, download Firefox ESR

Learn more about why you need to download Firefox ESR.  

Step 2: Install the Hangouts plug-in

  1. Open the Hangouts plug-in page.
  2. Click Download Plug-in.
  3. Open and install the plug-in.

Step 3: Allow camera & microphone access 

  1. Open hangouts.google.com.
  2. Click Video call Video call
  3. At the top left, click Block content Firefox plug-in.
  4. Choose a setting:
    • Allow Now: Let the plugin work for this video call, but ask again for future video calls.
    • Allow and Remember: Let the plugin work for this and future video calls.
  5. Reload the video call window.

Change a setting to allow activation

If you can't see the Activate option or you haven't activated your camera or microphone before, you can change your settings.

  1. In Firefox, click the Menu.
  2. Click Add-ons and then Plugins.
  3. Find the Hangouts plug-in. You might see "Google Talk Plug-in and Google Talk Plug-in Video Renderer".
  4. Choose Always activate.

Safari

Step 1: Install the Hangouts plug-in

  1. Open the Hangouts plug-in page.
  2. Click Download Plug-in.
  3. Open and install the plug-in.

Step 2: Allow camera and 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 can't see the Trust option or you've previously cancelled this option, you can change your settings.

  1. In Safari, click Preferences.
  2. Open Security and then Plug-in Settings.
  3. Find the Hangouts plug-in. You might see  "Google Talk Plug-in and Google Talk Plug-in Video Renderer".
  4. Choose On.

Starting a video call

  1. Open hangouts.google.com or go to the sidebar in Gmail.
  2. Select someone 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 select multiple people to start a group video call. 
  3. Click Video call Video call.
  4. When you've finished, click End call Call end icon.

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 has started. Anyone who is invited to join the video call must have a Google Account.

  1. In the video call window, click 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 such as your camera, microphone and speaker devices.
  • Share screen: To share your screen with other people in the video call, click More More and then Share screen.
  • Fullscreen: To make the video call take up your entire screen, click More More and thenFullscreen.

Send and receive messages during the video call

You can send messages to people in the video call. Messages will appear for a short period.

  1. Click the video call screen.
  2. At the bottom, click Chat Chat.

You can only see the message history while you’re in the call. If you leave and rejoin the call, you will not see any previous messages.

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