Start a video call

You can connect with family, friends, or coworkers through face-to-face video calls. Video calls can include up to:

  • 10 people for Gmail and G Suite Basics
  • 25 people for Business and Education

Tip: If you use Google Meet, learn how to start a video meeting

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.

Important: You might need to turn on permissions for your camera and microphone in your computer's system settings. 

Allow Hangouts to use your camera and microphone


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

Important: For Internet Explorer, get the latest version of the Hangouts plugin.

Allow camera & microphone access

  1. Open
  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
  2. Click Video call Video call.
  3. In the top right, click Camera error Disallowed media.
  4. Click Always allow 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.

Start a video call

  1. Open 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.

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, 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 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 Share screen.
  • Fullscreen: To make the video call take up your entire screen, click More More and thenFullscreen.

Send and receive messages in 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 the previous messages.

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