Google Hangouts: Blurring Backgrounds

There are times when meetings are conducted online. You know, to avoid the hassle of meeting up in one place to tackle a certain agenda despite all your location differences. With that, Google Hangouts is one of the platforms being commonly used in situations like this. 

Google Hangouts

During meetings, there’s an eighty percent chance that you’ll be on cam, as this is essential to promote participation and engagement. However, you will not always have a camera-ready background, especially if you’re in a place where a lot is going on around you. Everybody knows that can’t be controlled, right? Not everyone has the privilege to have a good background during meetings. 

Nonetheless, thanks to Google Hangouts, because with just a few clicks away, you’ll be able to blur your background. Simply follow the steps below, and you’re good to go for your next meeting!

1. Open Google Hangouts.

If you’re using your personal computer, you may gain access to Google Hangouts through a web browser extension, or you can also go to the website itself. Make sure that your account is signed in, so that you may be able to join a call or meeting. 

2. Join a call or meeting. 

Upon logging into your account, find someone or a group of people in your contacts that you want to have a call or meeting with. You may either create a group call, or you can also just call a single person – it’s all up to you! Note that this step will only apply if you aren’t yet in a call.

However, if you’re already there, or if you were already invited in a call, then there’s no need for you to create a meeting. 

3. Make sure to allow the website to access your microphone and camera.

Upon getting into a call, you’ll see a pop-up notification at the upper corner of your screen. This notification will contain a message asking for your permission with regards to allowing Google Hangouts to access your microphone and camera. Click on the “Allow” button to enable both your camera and microphone. 

4. Click on the vertical ellipsis icon at the bottom of the screen.

Click on the “More options” icon that is represented by a vertically stacked ellipsis. This will reveal a pop-up list. 

5. Select “Apply visual effects” from the list.

The list that will appear contains various options such as Whiteboard, Change the layout, Fullscreen, Apply visual effects, Captions, Report a problem, Report abuse, Troubleshooting and Help, and Settings. Locate the “Apply visual effects” option and click on it. A pop-up side window will then appear after doing this. 

6. Select a blur option under the “No effect and blur” category.

In the pop-up window, locate the “No effect and blue” category. Browse through the effects under it and select the type of blur that you want to apply in your background. You may opt for a slight blur or a full one. Click on your selected effect. 

Note that if you want to have a preview of the effects, you must turn on your camera to see how they’ll look. However, if you are determined to set up a background first before opening your camera, then it’ll be best for you to choose the full blur effect first. You may just change it into a slight effect if you think the full blur is too much.

7. Close the pop-up window.

Clicking on the effect that you prefer will result in its automatic application to your background whenever you open your camera. With that, there’s no need for you to click on anything else to apply it. Just close the tab, and you’re already good to go. You may now open your camera (if you still haven’t) to test it.


This tutorial is solely focused on blurring a background in Google Hangouts through the website itself. Furthermore, Hangouts is being slowly replaced by Google Meet now, so only a few people remain using this. Nonetheless, the steps on how to blur your background may be applied even if you’re using a browser extension or an application, or even in Google Meet. Just keep these steps in mind, and you won’t have to worry anymore about your messy room or anything else.