Get started with Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is an instant messaging and video/audio call service bundled with Google+ on the CGXchange Google Apps. The service allows you to communicate face-to-face with others in online meeting rooms called Hangouts - without complicated audio and video setup. With Hangouts, you can:
  • make video and audio calls (up to 10 people both within and outside of CGIAR); 
  • send messages (group chat with up to 100 people); 
  • share your screen and collaborate on documents in Google Drive; 
  • save the history of your web conferences in your Hangouts list in Google+ or the Hangouts application.

Hangouts integrates Google Plus video Hangouts, Google Plus Messenger and some of the key features of Google Talk. If you already had Google Talk installed on your computer and were using it through CGXchange, you can still continue to use this application for chat until, of course, Google decides to stop supporting it.

How to access Google Hangouts

All CGIAR staff with active email accounts have a Google account on

Before organizing a Hangout, make sure you have:

  • signed in to at least once; 
  • activated your Google+ profile on your account. 

    How to use Google Hangout

Not there yet? Sign in to and activate a full Google+ profileat the right of the navigation bar, click on the Apps symbol and then on the G+ icon. Follow the instructions on-screen:

  1. Enter your birth date (mandatory);

  2. Add a profile picture: recommended but optional, you can add people to circles and enter other profile information later;

  3. Review final screen and click Finish.

Are your participants ready to join Hangouts?

All the participants you wish to invite to a Hangout are required to have a Google account and a Google+ profile.

  • CGIAR staff can be invited with their or accounts: make sure they can sign in to and activate their G+ profile (see steps above) before the Hangout; 

  • Non-CGIAR staff: contact them to obtain their email addresses associated to a Google account. It is always best to check beforehand so that they can prepare. If they do not have a Google account yet, they may wish to create one or they will be prompted to create it when they receive the invitation.

Software and hardware requirements

Hangouts is free and works in your browser from your Google+ profile page. Alternatively, you can install the Google Chrome browser and the Hangouts extensionGoogle has not replaced the old Google Talk client with an application for your computer. Please contact your local Helpdesk if you need support installing the Google Chrome browser and the Hangouts extension and checking the system requirements.

There are mobile applications available for iOS and Android that you can install on your mobile devices from the respective apps stores. 

Make sure you have microphone and speakers (or a headset) available; a webcam is needed for video calls, but you can still participate with audio only. 

How to add contacts to your Hangouts from your Google+ profile page

From your Google+ profile page, click the + button at the top of your Hangouts list; type a name or a full CGXchange email address (e.g. Click on Add when you find the person.
Add a contact to Hangouts

Web Conferencing with Google Hangouts