Google offers many free services to users besides its search engine -- including Gmail, its email service. With Gmail and a Google+ account you can add an avatar, which is a profile picture that others will see in their Gmail contact lists, on Google+ and when talking to you with Google Hangouts, Google's instant-messaging service. You can turn any picture you want into your avatar.
Go to plus.google.com and sign in to your Google account, or sign into your Gmail account. You must have a Google+ account to change your profile picture.
Click on your profile name in the upper right of the page. A default shadow avatar is displayed in the drop down menu that opens. Click the "Change Photo" link below the avatar.The Select Profile Photo window opens.
Click "Upload Photos from the left menu. Locate a photo on your computer you want to use, then drag it onto the right pane of the window where it says "Drag a profile photo here." For best results, use a photo that clearly shows your face. Once uploaded, Google will reduce it when using the photo as an avatar beside your profile in Gmail and Google Hangouts.
Drag the clear cropping square that appears on your photo to crop your photo as desired. You can resize the cropping square by dragging any corner, but you can't change the square to a rectangle. Click the "Left" or "Right" arrows to rotate the photo if needed. Type a caption in the "Add Caption" field below the photo if desired.
Click the "Set as Profile Photo" button. Google makes the picture you choose your new avatar.
The Select Profile Photo window also includes options for using photos you uploaded with your Google+ account, Picasa account, or photos others have tagged you in on Google+. You can also click the "Web Camera" link to take a photo from your computer's Web cam.