Now that you are in a hangout, let’s see what those buttons can do for you.
At the upper right corner of the hangout screen, there are buttons that you can use to control your personal hangout session.
On the far left is your audio meter. This should light up when your microphone is picking up your voice. It also shows how loud your audio is.
Next is the mute button. You can use this if you want to mute your microphone (there are background noise on your location or you have to speak to someone not in the group). When muted, this button turns red. Note that other users can also mute you, and you can use this button to unmute yourself.
The third one is the video mute button. It works the same way as the mic mute button except that it will mute your video. When your video is muted, your Google+ profile picture will be shown instead. Note that only you can mute your video.
Fourth is the bandwidth control button.
Fifth is the settings button.
And lastly is the end call/hangout button. As the name and icon implies, clicking this will disconnect you from the hangout. If you accidentally clicked this (or was dropped of from the hangout from any reason), you can return to the hangout by using the five methods on joining a hangout.
The Bandwidth Control Button
If you are having issues with audio and video (specifically choppy video or audio), it might be because your bandwidth is not enough to handle the hangout. This usually happens when there are multiple computers in your house that are using the connection at the same time, or you are on a public wifi hotspot.
There are some ways you could do to lessen the load on your bandwidth. Click on the bandwidth control button on the upper right corner of the hangout screen. It will show you a slider with at least 4 stops.
On the farthest right (+), this will make hangout run on full throttle where you can see everyone’s live video feed.
Sliding it one step down will turn off those little live video feeds at the bottom only leaving the big screen (where the person who is speaking appears) and your live video feed the only visible video (everyone else will use their profile images). This only affects your side of the hangout.
Sliding another step down will still keep everyone’s video off and change your video feed to a black and white, sketch-like video. This saves bandwidth as fewer information about your video is sent over the internet. Note however that when using this, all participants in the hangout will see your black and white sketch-like video.
Going to the farthest left (-) will disable all video on the hangout. You wont’ see anyone’s live video and they will also not going to see you.
Note that on all those settings, nothing is changed in the audio quality.
Clicking on the settings button will give you a dialogue box where you can change some settings.
First off is the webcam settings. If your webcam is not working, make sure the drivers are included and installed. Also, check here if the webcam you are going to use is selected.
The next one is for your microphone. Make sure the your active mic is selected..
Click save settings.
Click here for info on how to use the buttons on the left side of the hangout screen.