Getting Started with UW-Madison Google Hangouts

Information on how to setup and use Google Hangouts for WSB students.


Please note that this service requires an active campus NetID: Click here to learn about activating your NetID.

Google Hangouts
is an instant messaging and video-chat platform developed by Google. It allows users to hold conversations between two or more persons, share screens and documents while a call is in session. The service can be accessed online through Gmail or a Google+ website. It can also be accessed through mobile apps available for Android and iOS.

Google Hangouts is available to all faculty, staff, students and researchers through the campus Google Apps. You must activate a UW Google+ account to use Hangouts.

You can start a Hangout with anyone as long as the person has a Google account. If you start Hangout with someone who does not have a Google account, an invitation will be sent to their email address asking them to join Hangouts.

Features overview (

There are a number of web conferencing tools available for UW-Madison faculty, staff and students use. Find out more about these tools, their features and how they might fit your needs.

Google Hangouts Features


Google Hangouts

Max. # Simultaneous Video


Max. # Simultaneous Audio


Max. # Participants


Chat Feature


Can Record Session


File Sharing Capabilities

Using Google Docs

Screen Sharing Capabilities


Breakout Rooms (Group Work)



Free to UW

Integrated with D2L Module


Remembers Content


Students can Create a Session


Due to FERPA and other privacy issues, we strongly recommend you do not use other non-sanctioned web conferencing software such as Skype for any academic or university business.

Creating a Google+ Account

To start using Google Hangouts you need to create a Google+ account. This will give you access to other Google services and Apps, like Hangouts.

To create an account do the following.

  1. Log in to UW-Madison Google Apps with your NetID and password using the following URL:

  2. If you have multiple UW-Madison Google Apps accounts, select your desired account from the list provided.

Select account

  1. If you only have one UW-Madison Google Apps account, you will be logged into your account automatically.

  2. If you don't see the account you are looking for? You may need to link your WiscMail Plus or Office 365 service account to your NetID.

  3. Next, click the App button located four from the top-right corner.

Screenshot of square icon in upper right-hand menu

  1. Scroll all the way down and click Even more from Google

  1. Click on Google+. There are three simple steps to activate your account.

  2. You will be presented with the screen below. Enter your Name, Gender and Birthday.

Screenshot of Creating your public profile

  1. Hit Continue after entering your information.

  2. Next you will be presented with possible people to connect with, from your contacts. If you want to add them to a circle, place your mouse over add and you will see these options.

Screenshot of Friends, Family, Acquaintances, Following menu

  1. If you want to add more people that were not shown in your initial suggestions, scroll down until you find: Search for people. Type in their email address or name.

Screenshot of search bar

  1. The first time you follow a category, make sure to click Okay, got it!

  2. Lastly, add more information about yourself.

Screenshot of text fields on profile

  1. Click Finish, and you will be directed to your personalized Google+ Account.

Using Google Hangouts

  1. Go to:

  1. Click on the 9-square icon left on your name on the top right corner of the browser

  1. Choose the Google+ icon and you should be in your home screen for Google Hangouts

  1. Install Plugin if requested, *Requires Administrative rights on your computer*

Connecting to others

  1. Open Hangouts in Gmail or Google+.

    1. Gmail: In the bottom-left corner, click on the Hangouts icon .

    2. Google+: In the top-right corner, click on the Hangouts icon .

  1. Select a person from the Hangouts list.

Start Hangout

The list is ordered with your most recent Hangout at the top. Or click the search button and type a name or email address. When you find the person you want, click their name.

  1. If you want to start a group Hangout, check the boxes in front of multiple people's names and click the chat icon to start a message or a video icon to start a video call.

  2. Choose the type of Hangout you want to start:

    1. Text conversation: Type the message you want to send in the text box that says “Send a message” and press the return key on your keyboard to send the message. The typing indicator will show other people in the Hangout that you’re typing a message.

    2. Video call: Click the video icon to start a video call.

    3. Phone call: Click the call icon to start a phone call. Almost all calls to the U.S. and Canada are free from all countries where Hangouts calling is available. A few U.S. and Canadian destinations will cost USD 1 cent per minute depending on the specific phone number. The 1-cent rate may vary depending on the local currency. Calls to destinations outside of the U.S. are at low rates, but calling isn’t available to all locations.

    4. Text message: If you have a Google Voice account and turned on text messages and voicemail in Hangouts, click the SMS icon to reply with a text message. Or you could start a new text message by going to the dial pad and typing the number.

If you’re using the Hangouts Chrome extension, Hangouts conversation windows started in Gmail or Google+ will open outside of the browser window.

Entering a Google Hangout Session

The following document explains how to use UW-Madison Google Hangouts as a collaboration tool to join the same Hangout session. This process does not require inviting each participant one by one which makes it ideal for when you and your colleagues routinely work from different locations. Hangouts can be used as a virtual office.

  1. Log in to your UW-Madison Google Apps account: UW-Madison Google Apps - Logging In

  2. For the best experience, sign in to your UW-Madison Google Apps account using the Chrome browser via the switch person feature. When authenticating this way, remember to enter '' and leave the password field blank, so that it redirects you sign in via NetID Login.

  3. Navigate to the UW-Madison Google Hangouts home page

  4. Enter the name of the room you want to join. If you always access the same room, you can bookmark the link to the room.


Sharing screens during a call

  1. From inside Hangouts, click the Screenshare button on the menu bar at the top.

  1. A new window will appear.

  1. Select the screen you want to share.

  2. You can share your desktop, your Hangouts screen, a Google Doc you’ve uploaded, or an Internet window you have open. You’ll have the opportunity to choose what you wish to share.

  3. Click the Share Selected Window button and it will open in a new window.

  4. After you finish sharing, simply close the window of your shared screen, and you and your guests will automatically return to your Hangouts screen.

Your Hangout attendees will see everything on your screen in real time, so make sure you close any documents containing sensitive information you don’t want others to see, as well as Internet windows!

Keywords:Google Hangouts, WSB   Doc ID:54547
Owner:Billy K.Group:Wisconsin School of Business
Created:2015-07-31 11:32 CDTUpdated:2016-03-01 14:52 CDT
Sites:Wisconsin School of Business
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