Google+

Google Hangouts and Video Conferencing

With Google+ now open to everyone (over 18 that is), you might be wondering just exactly how to use some of the features that are available to you.

Today we’re going to talk about Google Hangouts – which is also sometimes referred to as “video conferencing”; either way, they’re used for the same purpose; to connect with someone in real-time in order to share ideas, content, opinions and more.

Here’s how it works:

Once you’ve created your own Google+ account, you’ll want to navigate to the “Home” icon:

 

Once you’re there, look on the right-hand side of the page for this:

Next, you’ll need to choose which of your circles you want to start a hangout with.

You can also choose to “Hangout” with just one person; it doesn’t have to be an entire circle of people.

At the very bottom of this hangout screen are a few features…

As you can see, you can mute the video, mute your mic, adjust some settings, and exit out of the program.  Since most of these are self-explanatory, let’s take a look at the settings:

The program will run you through a few questions such as “can you see yourself?”, “when you talk, can you hear yourself?”, etc.

You can also adjust what camera to use, the microphone that you want to use, and the speakers you want to use.

Also, notice at the bottom, there is a checkbox that says “Report quality statistics to help improve voice and video chat.”  If you are uncomfortable sharing these things, uncheck the box.

Finally, click “Save”.  When you’re ready click the “Hang Out” button.

Now, for those of you who want to use Google Hangouts for Video Conferencing, Google has introduced enhanced Google Hangouts.  You can get to the enhanced version by clicking the following link on your Hangout screen:

After clicking on this link, here’s what you’ll see:

If you’ll notice, Google has a message at the top which states that these are “sneak previews” of new Hangouts features and that they’re only for a limited time.  If you love it, be sure to let them know so that it has more of an opportunity to stick around for awhile.

Notice how with these extras you can name a hangout,  share notes and a sketchpad (perfect for meetings), integrate Google docs, and even share your screen with someone.

All in all, Google Hangouts is pretty simple to use but the options that you can use it for are almost limitless!  Imagine having a chat with a friend who is a country away instantly or holding an online meeting where you don’t need to use any expensive hardware.  It’s one of the neatest things that Google+ has available to you and I’m sure it’s only going to get better!

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