How To Use Google+ Hangouts To Meet With Friends

Google Hangouts Logo   How To Use Google+ Hangouts To Meet With FriendsGoogle Hangouts is a key feature of Google+. If you are not using Hangouts already, you are missing out! Maybe you haven’t yet joined Google+. Well, if you do have a Google account, then joining Google+ is a matter of seconds. Or maybe you haven’t quite figured out how to use it. This is where this article comes in. Once you get the hang of it, you will want to use it more often.

Join Google+

Point your browser to Google Plus and log in with your Google account. Unless you have already joined Google+, you will be offered to upgrade your account and create your public Google+ profile.

Join Google Plus   How To Use Google+ Hangouts To Meet With Friends

In subsequent steps you can add people, follow interesting people and pages, and fill in your details. If you are all new go Google Plus, you may also benefit from this article, even though the interface has changed since it was written: Several Tips To Help You Get Started With Google Plus.

Start a Hangout

Fortunately, Google recently redesigned Google+ and made it easier to find stuff. With the new design came a left-hand sidebar, which shows you where you are on Google+.

Start Google Hangouts   How To Use Google+ Hangouts To Meet With Friends

You can start a Hangout from both the Home page and the Hangouts section. In both you should see a Hang out button in the right-hand sidebar.

Hang Out Button   How To Use Google+ Hangouts To Meet With Friends

After clicking that button, you may have to install the Google+ Hangouts browser plugin first. This sometimes causes problems, but should only take seconds. If you are using Google Chrome, you won’t even have to restart your browser.

Once you are really ready to start your hangout, you’ll see a page with all your friends on the right, a list of people you are inviting and the option to name your hangout on the left, your voice, camera and other settings in the top right, and your present webcam picture at the bottom.

Starting a Hangout   How To Use Google+ Hangouts To Meet With Friends

Note that you can also call someone using Hangouts by switching to the Telephone tab on top. Once you have added everyone, simply click the Hang out button and your chatroom will be created. Should you figure out later that you forgot to invite a friend or want to still call someone else, don’t worry, I’ll show you how.

Inside Hangouts

Once you have made it into a Hangout chat room, things are very straight forward. All people in the room are shown in the bottom row. The person currently speaking is highlighted on top. And in the top row you see various options, including Chat, Invite, or Screenshare.

Google Hangout Chat Room   How To Use Google+ Hangouts To Meet With Friends

You can switch to viewing anyone by clicking their little image at the bottom. Through that image, you can also mute selected people, for example to avoid their background noise. You can temporarily turn on/off your own voice and webcam via the control buttons in the top right. You can also access your audio/video settings or exit the chat room.

Google Hangout Audio Video Control   How To Use Google+ Hangouts To Meet With Friends

Now that you are in and know the basics, you can enjoy exploring the rest of the features and invite your friends to join you for the fun. To add more people, simply click the Invite button in the top left.

Conclusion

What is great about Google Hangouts is that it works inside your browser, i.e. it does not require additional software. Moreover, since almost everyone has a Google account, most of your friends will be able to join you. And best of all, it’s free to hang out with multiple people at once for both text, voice, and video chat.

As a bonus, you can do additional cool things in Google Hangouts, for example sharing your screen, collaborating on homework in Google Docs, or watching YouTube videos together.

During our MakeUseOf team meetings, we have found that Google Hangouts works relatively reliable for around five to seven people. You should have a good Internet connection and preferably connect to the Internet physically, i.e. avoid a slow WiFi connection.

Do you want to learn more about Hangouts? Have a look at these articles:

Finally, you should not miss out on our Google+ Guide.

If you have decided to give Hangouts a try, please do let us know how you liked it.

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16 Comments -

Andrew Gould

Hangouts are out of the question as long as I’m on limited downloads and have to pay for every megabyte…

Tina

Wow! Where do you live that you can’t have a flatrate?

Andrew Gould

Semirural Australia. Far enough out of town that there is no ADSL. Flatrate wireless is prohibitively expensive. Roll on ABN!

Tina

Well, that’s too bad, but understandable. In GTalk you can also audio-chat, maybe that’s a good alternative. :)

Julie

While you are in Hangouts, check out the MOST POPULAR premiere app – Scoot & Doodle – http://scootdoodle.com/hangouts

Scoot & Doodle offers a family-friendly online playspace where families play and grow closer, face-to face, using the shared doodle pad.

If parents are away from their kids on a business trip, this kind of app is a great way for them to interact through more than just video. A child could draw a picture for their mom or dad, or a young artist could host a Hangout and draw a picture in real-time.

Tina

Scoot & Doodle is really cool, not just for kids!

Julie

Tina,

Would your write an article about Scoot & Doodle? I can share some stories where people are playing pictionary twice a week – across the globe on Scoot & Doodle. We have one couple who live in different countries and the created a great 30 Day Challenge on Scoot & Doodle to get to know each other better. It’s awesome. What do you think?

Tina

Julie,

I didn’t think there was enough material in Scoot & Doodle for a full-blown article. But some examples of how people use the app could indeed make for a story. I have your email address via this comment and will be in touch. Thank you! :)

Shehan Nirmal

I got 100MB for 25 SL Rs. But I got low signals that I can’t even start a hangout….

Tina

Does Skype work for you or GTalk audio chats?

James Smith

Google is the least trustworthy company on the internet. Their sole purpose is to gather your information to sell to others. I despise google and would never use them for anything, not email, search, nothing. I also block anything related to Google that I can.

Tina

James,

Obviously, I don’t share your sentiment. I do not believe that Google’s business model is based on illegal activities. Yes, they do use user data to optimize their revenues. However, your take on what they do is a very crooked interpretation of how Google makes money.

Ronald Payne

Google+ pages keeps saying “It looks like you have enabled Internet Explorer Compatibility View. Google+ works best if you turn this off.” and I am using Firefox 13. When I click to activate Chat, I get “We currently don’t support chat in this browser. Learn more”.

Guess I will not be chatting with many of my friends who use only Firefox. :P

Ron

Tina

Hey Ronald,

Sounds like an issue with Firefox 13. It works great in Firefox 12 and Google Chrome. Maybe wait for a week or so, maybe then Google+ has caught up.

Tina Smith

I haven’t had internet for a long time, since ’98 and got it this winter. It has changed soooo much, that I am playing catch-up. I have google chrome now and an account but haven’t figured out how to find people yet. I would like to try to try this but i cant find my friends. Any suggestions?

Tina

Tina,

Are your friends on Google and do you have their email addresses? Just search them and add them to your circles.

You can also join public Hangouts to test it.