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How to use Google Hangouts Chat

Data: 06-May-2019 Editor: AppsToTalk

Google Hangouts Chat is a corporate-level service for communication between the colleagues and individual groups as well as departments within the enterprise. Hangouts is integrated into Docs, Sheets, Slides and Forms software products from Google. Also you can use the Google Drive features in a conjunction with the Chat app. In this guide, we will describe the main principles of using Hangouts Сhat both from Windows-computer, laptop or tablet. You can also make use of Android/iOS mobile device to collaborate and interact with your team members.

Hangouts Chat: product installation and requirements

Before you start the installation and the customization of Hangouts Chat service, you should be aware that the software requires former registration of the G Suite initiative. If you omit this stage, you won’t be able to use the Hangouts Chat tool at all. Although G Suite is a proprietary software solution, you can still use any of the product features for 14 days absolutely for free with full access to online storage, video conferences, business email and other tools. This time period is absolutely sufficient for learning all of the product possibilities and obtaining a detailed info about everything which G Suite (and its primary components: Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet — another part of Google’s communication platform) is capable of.

G Suite Registration

So, let’s start from the G Suite registration procedure:

  • Go to the G Suite’s starting page.
  • Provide the data about your corporate business name, number of employees and the country of your organization. When all of this info is entered, click the “Next” button below.

  • Next form requires your first and last names, current email address and valid business phone number. As it is you who is creating the account, you are granted the G Suite account admin rights. If you have someone else responsible for these duties within your organization, you can assign this role to that person later. However, now you need to provide all of the mentioned info to proceed.

  • On the further step, the registration master will ask you whether you have a domain within your organization. Basically, a network domain is a label, which identifies an individual group of computers under a central authority or administration. If you need help on this step, you can ask your admin or search for additional info within the web. We can only mention that domain is a vital element of each particular organization within the local network or the worldwide web. Let’s say that you haven’t registered a domain name formerly, select the “No, I need one” option. If you have taken care of the domain name before registering in the G Suite, choose the first option — as a conclusion, the whole procedure will be a bit easier and simpler.

  • The following stage lets you search for available domain based on the keywords, which reflect your current business, brand or area of expertise as the best. Type in the desired keyword which would serve as the preferential domain name, and the wizard will offer a few suggestions for you to register. Choose the affordable option among the available domains by clicking on the suitable item from the pop-up list.

  • After this is done, the installation wizard will check whether the selected domain is available at the moment. If it is not, you will be provided with alternative options of the available domains that match your keyword. Also, on the right of each of the available domains, a medium price will be displayed considering your region and domain zone. Pick the most convenient domain from the affordable options currently available. If none of them corresponds your demands, type in the new keyword in the field above and repeat the same procedure.

  • Finally, the domain is found. After you choose the good one, the info note appears regarding successful conclusion of your search and the price for holding the domain on the hosting server. Now, when you agree with the entry found, click the “Next” button to proceed with the G Suite register routine.

  • The forthcoming phase requests your business address. This data is required for registering the domain on the server. Thus, spare a minute to enter the exact address data of your company headquarters or affiliation. When the info is properly specified, click “Next”.

  • On the next step, Google asks you whether you want to receive occasional emails with special announcements and thoughts regarding the service usage. Think over your decision and agree or disagree with the proposal.

  • The last request form would ask you for a username, under which you are going to authenticate into the G Suite, and the secure password for your account. To assure the system that you are not a bot, set the captcha checkbox on. After all of the noted above info is provided, press the “Agree and continue” button.

  • Afterwards, you need to wait a few seconds until your account is generated and you are capable to log in to the G Suite account via data provided during the registration. The next phase of the setting up routine is logging in to the admin console and selecting the payment plan.

  • Specify the username and password to log in to your G Suite admin console in the same way you log in to your email.
  • Soon you will see the following infobox with the request to provide your phone number to confirm that it is you, the owner of the service account, who is going to enter the suite, not a third-party person. Enter the phone number you typed in during the registration and go further.

  • If the phone number you’ve given is correct, soon you will receive an SMS message with the verification code. Copy the verification code into the text field and click the “Verify” button.

  • Have a brief look onto the regular agreement and terms of service. There is nothing special in here, so just click the “Accept” button.

  • On the next form, you are asked to choose a payment plan: the flexible one with monthly payment or the annual one, which costs less on per-month basis but is more expensive in occasional financial equivalent. If you own a promo code with discount, that is the right moment to type it in. As we have said before, first 14 days are absolutely free, so you can cancel your subscription afterwards before the fee is issued. After the plan is chosen, click “Next”.

  1. You have completed all preliminary setting up stages and have gotten to the final review and checking of all data provided before. Scroll down the list and make sure that all the info you provided is absolutely correct. Specify the bank account number and the CVC code of the bank card to write off the appropriate amount for the domain and the G Suite service usage after first 14 days. Now you are done with the registering and can proceed to the main step — administering the user account from the admin console and trying Hangouts Chat.

Creating a new user account within the G Suite

After the domain is registered and paid, we can log in to our new G Suite account and manage the user data from the admin console.

  • Go to the G Suite home page and click “Sign in” at the top-right corner of the form.

  • Specify the domain name registered formerly and click “Go” to get access to admin console.

  • The initial step is to create a new user account so that we are able to log in to Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet services. Click the “Users” section within the console to display the list of users that are authorized to use the G Suite.

  • Click the “+” icon to start the process of a new user account creation.

  • On the revealed form, specify the first and the last name and all appropriate data to authorize the new user within the system. When all data is entered and thoroughly checked, click “Add new user” at the bottom-right corner of the pop-up form.

  • The next form requires confirmation of previously specified data. Copy the password into the clipboard by clicking “Click to copy password”, and confirm the procedure by clicking “Done”.

  • Finally, the new user is created and displayed in the users list. Now we can start using Google Hangouts Chat.

How to use Google Hangouts Chat in different ways

Google Hangouts Chat is a service which operates either through a web interface or via distinct program application installed into the operating system, just like any other ordinary software app. You can use any of the ways to start chatting right away.

In order to access the Hangouts Chat web-service:

  • Go to the homepage of the Chat project. You can also log in to your G Suite account, click on the apps list next to the avatar of your active account and select the needed service right from the source.

If you want to install an individual Hangouts Chat program application to chat:

  • Go to the download page, choose your operating system and install the Hangouts Chat app in the regular way. You can also find specific setup packages in Google Play and App Store markets if you want to have Hangouts Chat on your mobile device.

Hangouts Chat: key principles

Here are a few notes regarding the key principles of the Hangouts Chat service:

  • Whether you are working and communicating in a dedicated group workspace or in a 1:1 chat, the Chat tool considerably facilitates your collaboration with the team in an organized way. You can discuss and share Google Slides, Sheets and Docs all in one place.
  • In order to unite a team within one place, Google has implemented a new room feature. Room is a special dedicated place, where members of your teams can build brilliant ideas, share files or message people together.
  • If you want to access your favourite app from chat, order a trip, schedule meeting or assign a task, the specific bots will assist you to complete that target.

What exactly Hangouts Chat can do?

After you run the Hangouts Chat app for the first time, the request appears whether you want to be informed about new messages incoming via push notifications. If you agree with that, the new notification will appear in your browser each time an incoming message within Chat is delivered.

In case you want to send a direct message through Hangouts Chat

  • Open the Hangouts Chat web-service and log in to your user account.
  • Click “Find people, rooms, bots” on the left on the home screen.

  • Specify the name or e-mail of the person you want to communicate with through Chat or pick a contact from the suggestions list. It should be mentioned that you can’t chat with your regular Google contacts. If you want to chat with ordinary Google contacts, make use of typical Hangouts service instead.

  • Type the direct message you want to be delivered to the user and press Enter on the keyboard (or click the “Send message” icon).

If you want to send a direct message to the group within Chat

  • When you are authorized into Hangouts Chat, click “Find people, rooms, bots” on the left and pick the “Group message” option from the pop-up list.

  • Specify the emails or names of the people you want to send a group direct message to. You can also pick the names from the suggestions below.

  • After all the contacts are added, click the “Message” button to begin typing a message.

  • Now specify the DM text you want to send to the group. Similarly to sending a direct message to a particular person, press Enter on the keyboard or click “Send” from the Hangouts Chat UI to send a message.

Note: if you want to hide a group DM from the list in the left section of the primary Hangouts Chat messaging form, point the cursor to the needed direct message, click the “More” button (the one with three vertical dots) and select “Hide conversation”.

If you want to edit/delete a chat message sent formerly or add an emoji

In order to edit a message:

  • choose your active chat and click the “Edit” button (the one with a pencil).

  • make the changes and click “Update” to apply the modifications.

In order to delete a Hangouts Chat messaging chain:

  • Point the mouse cursor to the active chat and click the “Delete” button (the one with a trash bin).

  • Approve the action by clicking “Delete” on the pop-up confirmation box.

In order to send an emoji:

  • Click the Emoji smiley and pick the suitable emoji from the list.

To make a word, words combination or a phrase bold:

  • Add an asterisk sign (*) in the start and the end of the text section you want to make bold within Chat.

To italicize a piece of text:

  • Add an underscore symbol (_) in the beginning and the ending of the phrase you want to make italic within Chat.

If you want to create a room in Hangouts Chat

Room is a designated space within Hangouts Chat, where you can meet with your team and brainstorm ideas. Rooms serve for chatting with your coworkers, sharing files and other online content and working together on team projects.

In Rooms, conversations are grouped into various conversation threads so that you and your team can be involved into the discussion of multiple subjects at the same time.

In order to create a room:

  • On the left section of the Chat active form, click “Find people, rooms, bots” – “Create room”.

  • Specify the name of the Chat Room and click “Create”.

How to remove or add people in a room

If you want to add people in a room, use either of 2 ways:

  • invite to join the room by emailing specific people
  • mention someone in a conversation — e.g. enter @wills, and the person with “wills” as a login will be added to the room automatically.

To invite people to a room:

  • Click “Add people & bots”.

  • specify the Google Groups address, email address or the name. Otherwise you can select the needed person from the suggestions list.

Note: if you want to send notifications to the people you’re going to add, set the “Notify people via email” checkbox and click “Send”. If you don’t want to send notifications, remove the checkbox to enable the Off status.

  • In order to initiate a new conversation within the group, scroll the visible area to the bottom and click “New thread in _name of room_”.

Note: each of the room participants can view the history of the entire conversation.

To add a person by mentioning him:

  • enter @ sign and then their email alias, for instance @pwesson

  • pick the needed person and click “Send”
  • click “Add to room” to confirm your decision.

To view room participants:

  • pick the room from the left section of the screen

  • at the top, click the arrow-down button next to the room title and pick “View members”

To remove a person from a room:

  • pick the room title at the top and click the arrow-down button – “View members”

  • choose the person, click “More” and pick the “Remove from room” option.

Chat collaboration: starting a video meeting, adding files to conversations, search in chat

Sometimes it is better to meet with your customer or business partner face-to-face. In this case, video meeting would help.

In order to initiate a video meeting:

  • within the chat conversation, click “Add video meeting” – “Send”

To join a video meeting:

  • click “Join video meeting” – “Join meeting”. In order to activate this feature, Hangouts Meet service should be formerly set up.

To attach files to the conversation:

  • open a new chat or reply to an existing chatting thread and pick an option:
  • if you want to attach a local file stored on the hard disk drive of your personal computer, click “File upload”

  • if you want to add a file from the Google Drive cloud server, pick the “Add Google Drive file” option

  • When the file is attached, click “Send”.

If you need to search for a particular project or a word within Chat, you can search in rooms or DMs via @mentions bot and look for content, such as presentations, documents, videos, and more.

  • at the top section of the primary form, click the search button (magnifier) and specify your search query

  • under “Choose where to search” line, pick a corresponding room or contact, or give preference to “All rooms and direct messages”

  • click “Go to thread” to reveal the original chat contents.

Managing chat notifications in Hangouts Chat: how to set up notifications, snooze them, turn notifications on and off

You can decide whether you want to receive notifications for DMs and @mentions only, or for all conversations in general. In addition, if you haven’t read a chatting thread in 12 hours, you will automatically get an email notification sent directly to you.

Setting up notifications:

  • go to “Settings” (icon with gear drawn) – “Settings”

  • in the “Mobile” or “Web and desktop” zones, click the down-arrow button under the “Push notifications” header

  • now pick one of the options:
  • select “All messages” to be notified about each of the messages in both rooms and DMs;
  • “New threads, threads I’m following and direct messages” would suit you if you want to get notifications regarding threads you are following, the initial message of each new thread and all DMs;
  • “Threads I’m following and direct messages” option suits for getting notifications about threads being followed and all DMs;
  • if you want to be notified only about DMs and @mentions in rooms, pick the “Only @mentions and direct messages” suggestion;
  • to get rid of any notifications entirely, select the “Off” option.

Snoozing notifications:

If you want to proceed with your regular workflow without being interrupted, you can hide notifications temporarily. In order to do that:

  • click your current status at the upper-left part of the active visible area

  • select the time interval for how long you want your notifications to snooze

  • to revert to the regular settings defined and disable snoozing, click on your status indicator – “Stop snoozing notifications”.

Disabling and enabling notifications:

In the service, you can turn off or on the notifications for rooms or individual DMs. After you disable notifications for a room or direct message, you will still be notified about thread changes from @mentions bot.

In order to activate/deactivate notifications for direct messages:

  • choose the person’s name on the left and click “More” – “Turn off/Turn on notifications”.

To complete the same procedure for rooms:

  • choose the room on the left and click “More” -> “Turn off/Turn on notifications”.

Hopefully, these guidelines will help you to know better what is Google Hangouts Chat service, what abilities does it have and how exactly can it simplify your everyday activities and collaboration with your team. With Hangouts Chat, the team managers achieve highly scalable and flexible tool for sharing responsibilities, while the coworkers can interact with other team members in flawless and seamless way without excessive efforts.