Hangouts allow you to video chat and screenshare with up to 15 participants. Are hangouts the right tool for you to use? For a comparison of video chat tools, see our article: Choose a Service for Video and Web Conferencing.
Briefly, Google Hangouts are best to use if your participants are already signed up for Google+ and you are looking for a collaborative environment in which everyone is a presenter.
Before You Get Started
- Install the Google Hangout plugin.
- If you haven't already, sign up for Google+.
- If several participants are in the same room, turn off everyone's sound except one; mute microphones whenever possible. Even better, just connect to the Hangout from one computer.
Create a Hangout
- In a calendar event: click the "Add a hangout" link. With this method, invitees can simply open the event on their calendar and click 'join hangout'
- From chat: click the video camera icon after starting a chat. If you invite people individually from chat, they will each get a notice.
- In Google+: click the menu on the top left (it usually says 'Home') and then choose Hangouts. Click a person on the right-hand list to start a Hangout with them.
In the invite list, you can type individual email addresses, Google+ circles, or phone numbers.
If you invite ONE person, they get a pop-up notification. If you invite a Google+ circle, they get no notice. They have to look for the hangout or access it from a calendar event, if that's where it was created.
Video tutorial: a beginner guide to Google hangouts
Video tutorial: Step by step setup for google hangouts