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How To Enable The New Google ‘Hangouts’ in GMail

At last week’s I/O event, Google announced a revamped, unified messaging replacement for Google Talk called ‘Hangouts’,

An official Hangouts extension for Chrome and Chrome OS is already available to install from the Chrome Web Store. If you’re a Google+ user you’ll also find the new chat experience available from there, too.

But the revamped chat service isn’t enabled by default on GMail for everyone just yet. Google are rolling it out to users in stages.

If you don’t yet have Hangouts in Gmail but want it, here’s how to manually turn it on.

Turn On Hangouts in Gmail

  • Sign in to GMail (note: doesn’t currently work for Google Apps users)
  • Expand the Google Talk box in the left-hand sidebar by clicking the ‘speech bubble’ icon.
  • Click on your chat avatar
  • Select ‘Try the new Hangouts’ option

See the image below if you’re unsure of where it is.

enable hangouts in gmail

Enable hangouts in Gmail

Gmail will instantly reload when you click this option, so if you’re in the middle of something important (i.e. gossip, or reading the latest bit of spam from Amazon) be sure to save, make excuses, etc.

Don’t like Hangouts? You can revert to the “old” Google Talk by following the same steps above but choosing ‘Revert to Old Chat’ at the last step.

  • donsmi

    It will work on Apps too, as long as the administrator has enabled Hangouts in the Apps Control Panel.

    • http://blog.sudhirkhanger.com/ Sudhir Khanger

      I don’t see it in Google Apps Gmail. I do have Hangouts options enabled in Google Apps Talk settings and I am currently using Hangouts on Android and Chrome extension but is is not available in Google Apps Gmail account.

      • donsmi

        strange, I was able to set Hangouts on my Apps account! Maybe it’s another slow rollout?

        • trey

          I can’t see it either

        • Phila

          I have same problem. I cannot see any option like “Try the new Hangouts gmail” in my gmail chats.

  • Jon A.

    Awesome, thanks!

  • YY

    Not happy,

    Can’t see who’s online

    No Google Voice/Gmail calling anymore

    No connections anymore with other XMPP clients/people

    Much slower interface.

    Back to old one ;-)

    • Alex

      How did you go back I can’t figure it out?

      • YY

        It’s in the same menu as the enable hangout option, an obvious called: back to.. ;-)

      • http://omgubuntu.co.uk/ Joey-Elijah Sneddon

        It is mentioned at the end of the post, too.

  • unconfused

    Can’t see people’s status. Google Voice gone and all other connections gone as YY pointed out. This is a very poor replacement.

  • http://p3ter.fr/ P3ter

    Great ! Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Zak-Kaufman/629261960 Zak Kaufman

    I was wondering about this. Weird that they kind of hid it, but whatever. Thanks for the tip!

  • Miggs

    No status is that type of feature: You don’t need this, we know it.
    …or is going to be added.

  • Branndon

    Thanks! Came, and in 5 seconds found my answer.

  • Javier Bastardo

    Thanks! Now I’m rocking Hangouts on my Android, Chrome and Gmail :D, and just as it finished reloading the page, I got a email saying I was accepted to try out the new Google Maps! today is a day of joy.

    As for Hangouts, it still has a long way to come and be the app we all hoped for.

  • Marc-François Cochaux-Laberge

    It’s Gmail, not GMail! D:

    • Ubuntuna

      It’s :D Not D:

      • Marc-François Cochaux-Laberge

        :D -> Happy
        D: -> Not happy

        Turn you head on your right instead of on your left.

        • Ubuntuna

          It’s Gmail not GMail and you aren’t happy, why?

          • Marc-François Cochaux-Laberge

            I’m not happy because they are making this mistake all over the place in this article and in the application itself.

          • Oshiro

            You must have one hell of a miserable life if you get upset by such things…

          • http://makanja.com/ Makanja Bagus

            put them as a variable in a code, then you’ll know which one is which..

  • Jason

    Also a good one is having the chat on the right hand side. Settings -> Labs -> Right side chat.

  • Ultimate Saqawian II

    is there a way to add hangouts to Unity (ubuntu 13.04)?

  • RXG4

    Did the option to always/never/auto show contacts disappear?

  • Username_invalid

    Did it even deserve an individual post?

    • Mashnoon Ibtesum

      Does your though deserve a place in the comment section ? (Hint: No)

  • Wynd Ling

    I would like to allow ppl in my g+ to hang out with me…but i do not want all those people added to my gmail chat. If I allow circles to contact me while I am actually in g+ will it auto add them to my gmail.