How To Use The Hangouts Feature on Google+

By on November 2, 2011

Arguably the best feature to come from The Google+ Project, is Hangouts – Google’s own group video conferencing service. It’s a highly convenient way to connect with people, anytime, anywhere – with very little effort or organizing involved. So, today we’re going to talk about Hangouts, and how you can use this feature for your own business purposes.

Using Google+ Hangouts

The Hangouts section of Google+ is where a lot of the main action happens between friends, groups, business contacts, or anyone willing to join in the conversation and meet new people. It’s basically a live video chatroom, where you can speak with up to nine different people at once. Don’t worry about the limit right now, Google+ is going to expand it soon. First you’ll have to invite people to your ‘chatroom,’ and you can do this by selecting one of three options.

Invite friends by email that aren’t on Google+, invite friends from your circles or leave it public, so anyone can decide to pop in. Once all of your friends have arrived, you can chat to them in person, or use the text chat option as well. There is a Youtube button that means you can watch videos with the people in your Hangout. In the extras section, you can even work on a Google document with your group.

How Do You Use Hangouts For Work?

Google+ is a great tool for any person that needs to connect with people when they aren’t at the office, or aren’t in the country. All over the US clubs, groups, societies and companies are using Google+ to bring people together. Collaborate on a project with co-workers or host a video conference with a few of your clients – the applications are virtually limitless.

New to Hangouts is the Hangouts on Air concept, that allows Google+ users to broadcast live videos to the public. This is great for anyone that loves to webcast. It seems the whole goal of Hangouts is to eventually become a fully integrated collaboration tool. There is even screensharing and a sketchpad tool. Will this usher in a new generation of live-cast videos? Perhaps.

Here are some great ideas on how you can use the new Hangouts. Start a vlog, and gain a following by doing it on Google+. Do you love reviewing products? Do it in Hangouts. Use it for expert Q&A sessions, or to clear up project details with a new client or two. Why don’t you crowd source new ideas from the public, or announce you need help with a project and see who answers!

This is an excellent tool for developing your personal brand on the internet. It makes using video online easy and fun again. It also feels more fun that using a similar program, like skype. This is definitely one of the better things to come out of Google+, we hope they run with it, and keep developing the concept.

Have you used Hangouts yet? What do you think of it? We’d like to hear what you have to say.

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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