Many admins may be reluctant to roll out Google Hangouts because they are worried about the managing capabilities of the application. With the use of the Admin Console, you are able to customize the settings of Hangouts to meet the specific requirements of your organization.
To begin customizing the settings of Hangouts you must first enable it on your domain.
- From the Admin Console, click Google Apps then Talk/Hangouts
- Click Advanced settings then in the Organizations section select your domain or the organizational unit you want to enable Hangouts for.
- In the Hangouts chat section, select the radio button next to Enable Hangouts chat for users in this organizational unit.
- Accept Hangouts terms and conditions in the dialog box by checking I have read and acknowledged the above, then click Continue.
How to Access Hangouts Settings
- From the Admin Console, click Google Apps, then Talk/Hangouts
- Click Advanced settings
- In the Organizations Section you have the option to apply the settings to your entire domain or an OU.
Below is an explanation of the different options you have to select from to customize the functionality of Hangouts and create more granular policies.
- Users can chat with other users outside your domain: Allow users to have chat conversations with users outside your domain.
- Warn users when having a Hangout outside your domain: Create an alert that notifies users that they are chatting with a user that is outside your domain.
- Automatically accept invitations between users within your domain: Invitations to join chats with other users on your domain will automatically be accepted. Users will not be required to manually accept chat invitations making it easier for them to join chats.
- Default history off for all conversations: Conversations between users will not be saved for future viewing. This means each message will be visible in the Hangout window for a short period of time before being deleted.
- Note: Users will be able turn history back on in their own settings.
- Allow users to place voice and video call from Hangouts: Users will be allowed to use the voice and video call capabilities of Hangouts in addition to chats.
We recommend that you take the time to explore the settings for Hangouts within the Admin Console so you fully understand its functionality and how to customize it to meet the needs of your organization. It is important to evaluate Hangouts by allowing users to chat with their colleagues on the domain before allowing conversations with external users. Once you have fully customized and evaluated Hangouts you may be ready for a full deployment on your domain.
Image courtesy of the Google Hangouts product page