González was born on the coastal city of La Serena on November 22, 1898, he was Spanish descent, the oldest son of Gabriel González Castillo and Teresa Videla Zepeda. He was the oldest in a family of eighteen children. After graduating from the Liceo de La Serena, González went to study law at the University of Chile. He graduated from the university on 1922, but that same year his father became paralytic. Because of this tragedy, González had to return to La Serena to help his family. He became a freemason in 1924.
During his college years, González entered the Radical Party Youth, later becoming a member of the Radical Assembly of La Serena. González was involved in protests against the military government established in 1924 by Luis Altamirano. With the return of Alessandri Palma as Constitutional President at begining of 1925, Gonzalez was named Undersecretary of Justicie until the end of his mandate.
He supported the unity candidature of Luis Barros Borgoño for the presidential elections of 1925. In 1926, Gonzalez assume as Undersecretary of Interior until 1927, when Barros Borgoño named him Minister of Finance for two years.
In the legislative elections of 1930, González was elected deputy for the district comprising La Serena, Coquimbo, Elqui, Ovalle, Combarbalá, for the 1930 - 1934 period. Parallely, he was president of the Radical Party from 1931 to 1937. Was reelect as Deputy in 1934.
González Videla finally won the Radical Party primaries in 1946. He attempted to revive the Democratic Alliance that brought Juan Antonio Ríos to power in 1942 but was unsuccessful in this endeavor, as the Socialist Party denounced the offer of alliance, refused to join and the popular front could not be reconstituted. In the end, González only gained a plurality with the support of his own Radical Party and the Communist Party.
In the presidential elections, González won 40% of the vote, defeating right-wing candidates Eduardo Cruz-Coke and Fernando Alessandri and socialist Bernardo Ibáñez. Since González did not reach the necessary 50%, the election went to Congress. He was duly confirmed on October 24 that year.
Gabriel González Videla’s first cabinets, between 1946 and 1948, included Communist ministers; but with the international fall of the Communism and Chile’s internal troubles soon pushed González Videla toward the right.