Google Plus is Google’s new social media network that is designed to compete against other websites like Facebook. At this point, Google Plus is only available by invitation only, so you must be invited by another member of Google Plus in order to join the network. Despite the fact that it is still a semi-private social network, there has been a lot of positive feedback about Google Plus. Unlike it’s main competitor, Facebook, it has a number of great features and it actually has better privacy settings.
Ultimate Google Plus Hangouts Guide
Google Plus has features such as Circles, Huddle, Hangouts, Sparks, and Photos as well as the usual user profiles. Basically, circles is a feature that allows users to build relationships and make friends, but the difference is that you can create separate circles for different networks because you will have different circles for work, school, and your personal life. You can individually limit what they can and cannot access about your profile, so it is a little more secure in that way. The Huddle feature is like group text and instant messaging that can be accessed from your home computer as well as your mobile devices. Sparks is feature that learns the preferences and interests of the user and then works to retrieve that information in the form of articles and websites that reflect those interests. Photos allows users to upload and share photos with those in their networks. Hangouts is the standout feature that this article will focus on and it is essentially a video chat feature that allows users to literally hang out and chat with their friends. Out of all of the features, hangouts has become one of the most lauded features.
- What is Google Plus Hangouts?
Google Hangouts is a video chat feature where users can sit around and chat amongst themselves. It is based on the browser, so it is not necessary to launch a program in order to start the video chat. Unlike other video chat services, there is no need to ping other people or call them up first because everyone can just sit in the hangout room waiting to chat. There is also an aspect of it called On Air, which is a live video stream to the public. Unlike other video chat websites and programs, it is very fast and smooth, so it is almost like having an actual face to face meeting. The video chat can occur between just two people or it can include ten people.
Users can just sit in the hangout room and wait for other users to join and their screens all appear in a row at the bottom of the screen and they can select one person to see a full screen image. The full screen image can not only show the actual video and audio of the person, but it can also allow screen and document sharing. Google Hangouts has been integrated with Google Docs, so that means that users can share and edit texts together as they engage with each other via video. There is also link sharing which means that users can send links to each other as well as everyone else in the hangout room and there is also a special feature that also allows users to share Youtube videos as well. Instant messaging is also an option as well because users can use an instant messaging box as well.
Google Plus Hangouts has become tremendously popular because it has moved beyond personal use as it has shown the potential for use in the work place and in education. The reason why is because it is more promising than other programs like Skype is because it allows for better screen sharing and it also allows users to congregate and collectively talk and work on documents and even stream to the public. It is a collaborative environment that is easy for everyone to use and share, so some companies are encouraging their employees to use it to work remotely on projects. Some educators also see a way for students to collaborate from home or around the world on projects and learn from each other. There are just a wide variety of uses for Google Hangouts and it is likely that there will be some additional features coming in the future.
- How to Set Up Google Plus Hangouts?
Google Plus Hangouts is very easy to use and join as long as you have the basic requirements. First of all, you must have Internet access, a web cam, a microphone, and a more recent computer model with at least 2 GBs of RAM. Here is a checklist to get started.
1. Get invited to Google Plus (Open and live now)
As aforementioned., Google Plus is only accessible if you have been invited by someone else. Chances are that you can ask an email contact or friend if they happen to be a part of the network and ask them to invite you.
After you have been invited, sign up to Google Plus, create your profile, and build your network and circles by connecting with your friends, co-workers, and family.
3. Download and install the Google Voice and Video Plugin
The Google Voice and Video Plugin is not software, but it is just a simple plugin that enables the feature to function. You must download this or you will not be able to use Google Hangout. Generally, this type of plugin will not damage your computer, but there have been some people that have reported some errors and crashes under certain circumstances. It is assumed that Google will continue to work out the bugs and errors in the future, but it generally works quite well for most users.
4. Engage with members of your circle and meet with them in the Hangout
Once you have developed circles, you can open the hangout room and sit there while other users can drop in chat with you. At that point, just select the Google Plus Hangout button and everything works from there.
- Google Plus Hangouts Live Streaming
Google Plus Hangouts not only allows users to discuss matters amongst themselves, but they also allow them to broadcast directly to the public. Instead of a two way chat or just hanging out with friends, there is a button that is called On Air that allows the user to stream the entire broadcast to the public. This is a great way to reach out to people like for a seminar or conference that will educate the viewers or host a live podcast. The only thing the potential viewers have to do is visit the user’s profile and they will be able to see the live stream and the user can also leave the videos up for future access.
- Google Plus Hangouts API
Google Plus Hangouts has an API (application programming interface) that is available to developers who would like to build new features into the system. Developers are allowed to write the code, submit it to Google and then allow selected users to access and utilize the API. Developers can see who else is building upon their features as well. So far, some developers have created group feedback, video muting, and sign up forms.
Google Plus already seems to be making a lot gains against Facebook, but Google Plus Hangouts is really one of the best features they have. A simple video chat system has evolved into a virtual workplace and classroom of sorts for the entire world. It already has a lot of cool features and it likely that Google will continue to add more in the coming months. Definitely try to sign up for Google Plus just to take advantage of Google Plus Hangouts.