Start a Hangout

With Hangouts, you can send and receive messages and make video calls with one person or with a group of people.

Start a Hangout

Note: If you’re using the Hangouts Chrome extension, Hangouts conversation windows started at hangouts.google.com or in Gmail will open outside of the browser window.

  1. Open Hangouts at hangouts.google.com or in Gmail.
  2. At the top right, click Search .
  3. Type a name or email address. When you find the person you want, click their name.
  4. Type your message, and press the return key on your keyboard.

Other types of Hangouts

Group chat
  1. Open Hangouts at hangouts.google.com or in Gmail.
  2. At the top right, click Search .
  3. For each person in your group, type their name or email address. Check the box in front of each person's name.
  4. Click Message.
  5. Type your message, and press the return key on your keyboard.
Video call

First, make sure that your computer meets the system requirements and give Hangouts access to your camera and mic.

  1. Open Hangouts at hangouts.google.com or in Gmail.
  2. At the top right, click Search .
  3. Type a name or email address. When you find the person you want, click their name.
  4. In the Hangout window that opens, click Video call .

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

Video call with multiple people

  1. Open Hangouts at hangouts.google.com or in Gmail.
  2. At the top right, click Search .
  3. For each person in your group, type their name or email address. Check the box in front of their name.
  4. Click Video call.
Phone call

First, make sure that your computer meets the system requirements and give Hangouts access to your microphone.

  1. Open Hangouts at hangouts.google.com or in Gmail.
  2. Click the Phone tab .
  3. Type a phone number or name in the search box. If you're placing an international call, select the country code by clicking the flag drop-down menu or by typing it into the search box (for example, +55 for Brazil).
  4. Click the phone number or person's name that you want to call.
    1. If you are calling a phone number that has an extension, enter the extension using the Dialpad Dial pad icon.

If you're in a Hangouts conversation with someone, you can call them right away. At the top of the Hangouts conversation window, click Call .

To end a call, close the Hangout window, or click End call Call end icon.

Text message (SMS)

You can send a text message if you have a Google Voice account and have turned on text messages in Hangouts.

  1. Open Hangouts at hangouts.google.com or in Gmail.
  2. At the top right, click Search .
  3. Type a name or email address. When you find the person you want, click their name.
  4. In the Hangout window that opens, click SMS .
  5. Type your message and press the return key on your keyboard.

Add emoji, photos, or art to your messages

You can add emoji to your messages to show how you're feeling, or send photos and stickers to your friends. You can also draw a picture and share it in a conversation.

Add a photo
  1. At the bottom right of the Hangout window, click Photo .
    • Upload photos: Drag a photo or select one from your computer.
    • Photos or Albums: Select the photos you want to send.
    • Web camera: Take a new photo using your camera.
  2. Click Select.
  3. Type a message and click Send .

You can also drag a photo from your computer into the Hangout window. Click Send .

Learn more about sharing and deleting your photos.

Add emoji and stickers
  1. At the bottom left of the Hangout window, click Emoji .
  2. Select an emoji from the window to show how your feeling. 
  3. Type your message, and press the return key on your keyboard.

You can also add personality to your chat with an illustrated sticker. In the emoji window, choose a character and select a sticker. The sticker will send immediately.

Draw and send art

You can draw something on a blank canvas or you can upload a photo to draw over it. Here are the steps to draw a picture and send in a message.

  1. At the bottom right of the Hangout window, point to Photo .
  2. Click Draw .
  3. You can start on an empty drawing canvas. Or you can choose one of the options below to draw on a photo or another drawing:
    • Use a photo: If you want to draw on a photo that you have, you can upload a photo. At the top, click Camera . Select the photo you want to draw on.
    • Use an existing drawing: Point to a photo or drawing that was sent in your conversation window. At the top right of the image, click Draw .
  4. Choose the color and size of your pencil. You can also choose the shape and opacity of the pencil.
  5. Draw your picture.
  6. Click Send .
Automatically animated stickers
You can liven up your conversations with animated stickers. To add animations, Hangouts automatically detects specific phrases in your messages, like “Happy birthday,” and will show an animated sticker.

Message delivery issues

If a message isn’t successfully delivered, it’ll appear red. This error usually happens when your Internet connection is temporarily interrupted or is too slow. When your connection is restored, the message will be sent, and the text will turn black.

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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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