A blog on software engineering by Trevor Brown

Google Hangouts With Offline Users

Often times during a video chat one or more participants will be offline and unable to join. If the person offline has access to a cell or landline phone during the video call the organizer can “invite” their phone number to the call and they can participate using their cell or landline phone. In this post I will provide step-by-step instructions on how to do this. In this post I am assuming you are using Google Chrome as your web browser and Mac OSX as your operating system. However, most things in Google Hangouts should work the same across different operating system. I will also be assuming you are the organizer of the call. (the one sending the invites).

  1. First open up Google Chrome and then open Google Hangouts. Google Chrome Google Hangouts App

  2. A new Google Hangouts window should open. Begin the video call as you normally would by inviting other Hangout users (type their email address into the box invite box). Google Hangouts Invite

  3. To invite a phone user click invite people (during the call this should be a button in the bar that appears at the top of the video when moving the mouse towards the top of the window). The window allowing you to invite more people should appear. Towards the bottom of it, near the green “Invite” button you should see an “+ Add telephone” link. Click on the link and another window asking you to agree to their terms of service should appear. Click “Agree” and a window with a field for a telephone number should appear. Enter the phone number of the person you want to call and click the “Call” button. Calls to the US and Canada should be free. Google Hangouts Empty Call Invite Highlight Google Hangouts Call

  4. Google Hangouts should make a call to the number you entered. It usually takes a couples seconds for the call to be routed. During the time call is being routed Google Hangouts should be playing the “phone ringing” sound. If the person you called does not answer the call, Google Hangouts will hang up and you will be notified that the call failed. If they do answer you should be able to speak to them as you would any other person in the hangout (just make sure you aren’t muted). The participant on the phone should be able to participate in the Hangout as if it was a regular conference call. Google Hangouts Calling Phone
  5. When the call is over simply hangup like you normally would.

I put this post together so that I wouldn’t forget how to do this in the future. If you know of any ways to make this process simpler I would love to hear from you!