The most common Google Hangouts problems and how to fix them

When technology works right, it enriches our lives and can make previously tiresome tasks easier to deal with. But when it doesn’t work, most of us get frustrated and don’t know where to start troubleshooting. If you’ve had trouble with Google Hangouts, we’re here for you.

Having used it for quite some time, we’ve put together our list of the most common issues with Google Hangouts and how to fix them. Whether you can’t get your camera connected or have glitches while inviting new friends, you can find out how to correct them here.

Further reading

I can’t send a message from my computer, or I can’t make or receive calls

Messaging and calling is the core experience of Google Hangouts, and it really can be frustrating if these functions won’t work right for you. No need to worry, though, as there are some fixes for this problem.

Typically, when you can’t send a message or make a call from Google Hangouts on your computer, the error could be related to a server problem. As you send your message, it won’t go through to the receiver, and you’ll see a red circle with an exclamation mark in the middle.

If this is the case, you’ll want to check your internet connection on your device and try sending the message again. We have a guide that can help. You can also try connecting to another website first to see if the internet connection is solid.

In the event that you get this error, your message might not be stored in your conversation history. The message might also not show on other devices. Finally, if your contact isn’t online, they might not see the message when they sign in.

If you’re still experiencing problems, the issue might be related to Google’s own Hangouts servers. Google recommends that you wait for a few minutes, then try sending the message again. You also can try signing out and signing back in. You can do this by clicking your profile picture on the top-right corner of the screen and clicking Sign Out.

My webcam won’t work, or people can’t hear me on the call

Google Hangouts webcam and microphone settings screenshot

Video and audio problems are some of the most common for a videoconferencing service like Google Hangouts. If this is the case, there are a couple of things you need to check.

First, make sure that you’ve granted Google Hangouts permission to use your webcam and microphone. This can be done by clicking the Allow prompt when you first start up the service.

You also might want to check to see that Google Hangouts is using the correct webcam and microphone. You can do this by clicking the Settings gear icon in the top-right corner of the Hangouts Video Call screen (during a call). Under Video, you’ll want to make sure that your webcam is showing up there, and choose it from the list. In our case, it is listed as Integrated Camera. If your webcam or microphone isn’t showing up, try downloading the drivers from your laptop or PC maker, or contact them for help.

Lastly, make sure you haven’t given camera or microphone access to a different application. That will block Google Hangouts from accessing either input source.

I can’t use Hangouts on Firefox

If you’re having problems using Google Hangouts on Firefox, there’s a simple reason why. Classic Google Hangouts video calls aren’t supported by the Firefox browser.

According to Google, this is because Firefox “no longer supports plug-ins, which are required for classic Hangout voice and video calls.” As a solution, it’s recommended to switch to a supported browser like Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge.

My web browser freezes when I share my screen in Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts screen share screenshot

If your web browser is freezing when sharing your screen during a Google Hangouts call, the problem is likely on your end. This can happen if you’re using an incompatible video adapter, video driver, or audio adapter. If you’re on Windows, you’ll want to try upgrading the drivers for your video adapter.

Getting an updated adapter is fairly straightforward. Start by right-clicking the Start Menu, choosing Device Manager and double-clicking on Display Adapters to expand it.

Next, right-click on the entry under Display Adapters, and choose Update Driver. Choose Search Automatically for Drivers, and have Windows find the right software for you.

I am getting the “Trying to Reconnect” error

Another common error on Google Hangouts is the “Trying to Reconnect” error. The error means that your computer is trying to connect to the server, but can’t.

If you’re getting this error, then it’s probably an internet connection issue on your end. You’ll only get your messages once you’ve connected to Google Hangouts again.

As a fix, Google recommends checking your internet connection. Follow the typical routine of trying another website, turning off your Wi-Fi and then back on again, and checking your router connection. Another possibility is that your IT administrator could be limiting your network to block Google’s domains. The domains * or may need to be allowed to let you connect to Google’s server.

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