How to Use Lower Thirds for Google+ Hangouts

Want to stand out with a polished appeareance during your next Google Plus Hangout? “Lower Thirds” is an option in the Google Toolbox extension that will give you the same branding news commentators use on television. You can specify your name, logo, website URL and Twitter handle – simply! Have several personas? Create a preset for each one, and switch with a click!

Install Google Toolbox

  1. Start a Hangout on Google Plus – With the recent Google Plus update, you can no longer start a hangout without inviting a circle or person. So, either create an empty circle or start a Hangout with someone you don’t think will be available, or with a co-worker who will humor you!
  2. From the sidebar, click on “…” to reveal the “Add apps”  button.
  3. Click on “Add apps”.
  4. From the options shown, choose Google Toolbox and “Install Hangout extension.”
  5. Click on “Allow Access.”
  6. Exit your hangout.

hangout_toolboxCreate your Lower Third for Google Plus Hangouts

  1. Start a Hangout.
  2. Click on Hangout Toolbox in the sidebar to reveal lower third options.
  3. Enter your name on the top line.
  4. On the second line, enter your business name, Twitter handle, and/or URL.
  5. Choose a custom background color for your lower third.
  6. Choose a logo for your lower third (75x75px is ideal).
  7. Entering your country will add your country flag.  Good for international Hangouts.
  8. Add a clock to show your local time in the upper right. Great for Hangouts with people in multiple timezones.
  9. The custom overlay is a transparent image 640 x 360 px that will cover your entire photo AND your lower-third. Not sure why you’d use this, but would love to see your creative ideas!
  10. When you have it the way you want it, name this configuration and save it for later.

Using your Lower Third

Next time you start a Hangout, your lower third will not appear. You’ll need to click on the Hangout Toolbox again and set up a new lower third, or choose a preset. Just click on the “load this preset” green circle by the saved preset you want to use.  By default, your image and lower third are mirrored, which can be disorienting! Click the “Mirror my own video” to view your video and lower third as others see them.

by Alisa Meredith | Scalable Social Media


  1. Alisa – An awesome tip and great idea for adding branding to your hangouts. It definitely works with video so this should make you stand out in G+ Hangouts!

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  3. Brittany

    Any way I can use these lower thirds on other callers in my hangout, not just on myself?

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