How to use Google Hangouts

How to get set up

Google Hangouts opens in a web browser so you don’t have to download an app to use it on your computer. Use Google Chrome as your browser for Google Hangouts. 

You can use Hangouts from an Android phone or iPhone (after downloading the app and signing in with a Google Account). However, we recommend that you join your calls from a computer to have the best experience.  If you are using headphones, please make sure they have a microphone built into them.


7. Chrome extension

Rather than chatting in a browser tab, would you prefer to use the extension for Google’s Chrome browser? Just grab it from this link, install the extension, and get started by clicking on the small green speech bubble icon top-right in Chrome.

Click on New Conversation (the green ‘+’ icon top-left) and fire up a chat simply by clicking on the name of the person you wish to talk to (or find the person using the search box). Also from the chat window, you can start a video call by clicking on the small video camera icon top-right (the controls for a video chat work just the same as in a browser tab session, as above).

From the main menu, clicking the three vertical bars top-left brings up the options screen, which includes control of your status, notifications and so forth.

(Image credit: Google)

4. Video call basics

Assuming the intended recipient accepts the call, you’ll then get to video chat, so chinwag away to your heart’s content. The main controls at the bottom of the screen work as follows: the red button in the middle allows you to finish the call, and you can mute the microphone with the button on the left, or turn off your camera using the button on the right.

(Image credit: Google)

How to join a call

  1. Find a quiet place with a good internet connection where you won’t be interrupted or distracted. 
  2. Double check that you’ve followed our advice on how to get set up as listed above.
  3. A few minutes before your call, click the green “Start Hangout” button in your Mastered homepage.

 4. Request to join the call. If you're not s

4. Request to join the call. If you’re not signed in with a Google Account at the time, you’ll be asked to add your name.

5. Your mentor will accept your request and your call will begin.

How much bandwidth you need

The bandwidth used by Hangouts is adaptive. It varies to provide the best experience for an individual delegate’s network.

You can adjust and set the bandwidth used by Google Hangouts manually. See bandwidth settings page in the Google Help Centre for detailed instructions.

For group video connectivity, Google suggests:

Minimum bandwidth requiredIdeal bandwidth
Outbound from the participant256 kbps1 mbps
Inbound to the participant with 5 participants512 kbps2mbps
Inbound to the participant with 10 participants512 kbps3mbps

Step 2: Check your Hangouts settings

  1. At the top of your video call window, click Settings Make sure the correct device is selected for each .
  2. Make sure the correct device is selected for each setting (change it using the Down arrow          Camera : If your camera is working, you’l):
    • Camera Microphone : To test your microphone, speak out lo: If your camera is working, you’ll see your video on the top right.
    • Microphone Speakers : To test your speakers, click Test.: To test your microphone, speak out loud and ask if the other person can hear you.
    • Speakers Test: To test your speakers, click Test.

Step 5: Review Google Meet system requirements

Google Meet video calls are available in classic Hangouts. Google Meet and classic Hangouts have different system requirements. Learn more about requirements for Google Meet.

Installing the Hangout apps

Hangout apps let you create and share documents and videos during a Hangout video call.

Your apps are displayed on the left side of your screen.

We recommend you install these apps before the course begins:

  • Google Drive
  • YouTube

To install and open the apps:

  1. Click the Google Drive and YouTube buttons on the left side of your screen.

If these apps are not visible:

  1. Click … View more apps.
  2. Add apps for Google Drive or YouTube.

More information: Add or remove an app

Sharing documents and handouts using Google Drive App

Once you’ve added the Google Drive app to your Hangout video call, you can:

  1. Browse and search for an existing Google Document, or select Upload to add a file that’s stored on your computer.
  2. Share that document with the participants. If you upload a Google Document that hasn’t been shared with everyone in the video call, you are prompted to share it with the other participants so that they can see and edit it. Once a document has been added to the video call, you can include additional documents and files.
  3. Click the red Add button on the left side of the page.

More information: Google Drive App

Sharing videos using the YouTube app in Hangouts

To watch YouTube videos with others in a video call:

  1. Open the YouTube app.

Important – everyone in the video call needs to have installed the app.

  1. Click on the blue Add videos to playlist button to find videos.

To find videos, you can either, search for a specific video, or copy and paste the URL of a specific YouTube video.

More information: YouTube App

Playing videos

The first video added to the playlist starts playing automatically. The controls below the player allow you to pause, play or skip to the next or previous video. Anyone in the video call can play, pause, or change a video but doing so affects what everyone sees.

To reduce any background noise, everyone is muted by default when a video is playing.

To talk to others while a video is playing

To talk to others:

  1. Press the Push to talk button underneath the video.
  2. Hold until you are finished talking.

Viewing the videos in a darkened setting

If you’d like to watch your videos in a darkened, cinema-like setting, you can use a browser extension such as Turn off the lights.

What if the video I want to share is not on YouTube?

If the video you want to show is not on YouTube, you can run the video from your computer and share your screen with others in a video call. The video and audio quality is likely to be poor, unfortunately. Alternatively, you can send delegates a link to the video, so they can watch it on their computer’s browser.

You can use the Screenshare feature in Hangouts to show your slides to delegates. You can give participants the ability to see what’s on your computer screen.

To share your screen:

  1. Click Screenshare Screenshare on the left side of your screen.
  2. In the window that pops up, choose your desktop or choose the window you want to present. If you have multiple windows open, you are asked to choose one to share. Select that window containing your slides, click share.
  3. Click Share Selected Window.

You can stop sharing your screen at any time by clicking Screenshare again.

Checking the video call settings

  1. In the Video Call window, move your mouse until you see the control icons at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Click More Options, then select Settings.Choose specific options for the camera, microphone
  3. Choose specific options for the camera, microphone, and headset or speakers) – not “Default device.”
    • If you are using a USB headset with microphone, you should see an option such as “USB Headset” for microphone and speakers.
    • If your only options are “Default device,” close out of the Hangout and completely out of the browser (Chrome, Firefox, etc), check that your devices are connected properly, and then restart the browser and re-enter the hangout.

Checking audio settings on a Mac

  1. Click the Apple in the upper left of your computer.
    • If you are already in the call, you may have to move your cursor to the top area of the screen to get the Apple to appear.
  2. Click System Preferences…
  3. Choose Sound.
  4. On the Input tab:
    • Select the correct microphone. This example is using a Logitech USB Headset.
    • NOTE: Only USB microphones will work with a Macintosh computer. Microphones on earbuds or headsets that connect to the stereo mini port will not work.
    • Check that the Input volume is set correctly (it should not be all the way to the left). 
  5. On the Output tab:
    • Select the correct headset or speaker.
  6. Close out of System Preferences and re-enter your video call.


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