Google Hangouts: Video and Voice Calls

Lesson 3: Video and Voice Calls


Video and voice calls

In addition to instant messaging and texting, Google Hangouts allows you to make video and voice calls. This offers a more personal way of talking to friends and family and a way to share things you might not be able to via text.

When making a video or voice call for the first time, you'll need to allow Google Hangouts to use your microphone and camera. This process varies depending on the browser you're using. If you need help with with this, you can review this step-by-step guide from Google.

To start a video call:

All video calls on Google Hangouts are completely free to make. The only requirements are that your computer has a camera, microphone, and speakers.

  1. Search for the name or email address of the person you'd like to call in the Hangouts list. Locate the correct person in the results, then click his or her name.
    Searching for a contact
  2. A Hangouts window will appear. Click the Video call button in the upper-left corner of the Hangouts window.
    Clicking video call
  3. A new video call window will appear. You'll hear ringing music until the other person answers. The footage from your camera will appear at the bottom-right corner of the window, showing what the other person will see.
  4. When the other person answers, the footage from that person's camera will appear in the middle of the window. If the person you're calling doesn't have a camera or it is turned off, a profile picture will appear instead.
  5. While in a video call, you can turn off your camera by clicking the corresponding buttons for each at the bottom of the window.
    Turning off the camera
  6. When you're done with the call, click the red End Call button at the bottom of the window.
    Clicking the end call button

To answer an incoming video call:

In addition to sending video calls, you can receive calls from other people. A Hangouts window from a caller will open in the bottom-right corner of your Google Hangouts page.

Answering a call

You can either click the Answer button to accept the call or the Decline button if you're too busy to talk or don't know the person calling you.

To start a group video call:

After you've started a video call with someone, you can add other people to the call as well. Google Hangouts can support up to nine other people in a video call. Simply click the Group Hangout button.

Adding other people to a call

Then type the email addresses or names of the people you'd like to add to the video call and click the check mark button.

Typing email addresses

To make a voice call:

Google Hangouts also allows you to make international and domestic phone calls. Most calls to anywhere in the United States are free, while calls to destinations in other countries can be made with low rates. Other than this, the only thing your computer needs is a microphone and speakers.

You'll need a Google Voice account in order to receive voice calls in Google Hangouts. However, you can make outgoing calls without one.

  1. Click the phone calls tab on the left side of the screen.
    Clicking the phone call button
  2. Type the name or phone number of the person you'd like to call, then click his or her name.
    Clicking a contact
  3. A phone call Hangout window will appear. It contains a dialpad in case you need to enter any extensions or information. To end the call, either close the window or click the red End Call button.
    Ending a call with the dial pad