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Google+ Hangouts: Engage, Inform, and Entertain with Google's Free Video Conferencing and Broadcasting Tool

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Whether you want to share a video chat with friends and family, meet virtually with colleagues, or broadcast to the world, Google+ Hangouts can meet your needs. In this article, Sams Teach Yourself Google+ in 10 Minutes, 2nd Edition author Patrice-Anne Rutledge provides an overview of what Google+ Hangouts has to offer and gives you step-by-step instructions for setting up and using this powerful video tool.
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One of the most popular features on Google+ is Hangouts, Google’s easy-to-use video chat and broadcasting tool. With Hangouts, you can have a casual chat with friends and family, meet virtually with clients and employees, or even broadcast to the world. In this article, I discuss the many ways you can use Google+ Hangouts and then show you how to set up, start, and participate in a hangout.

Introducing Google+ Hangouts

Although Google+ offers many ways to connect with others, there are times when you can’t beat face-to-face communication. For those times, Google+ offers Hangouts.

Hangouts enable you to get together with other Google+ users using live video chat. You can participate in a hangout from your computer, an Android 2.3+ mobile device, iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch with iOS 4+. If you use a mobile device, a front-facing camera is also required.

Hangout options include regular hangouts (up to 9 people) or Hangouts On Air, which enable you to broadcast to the Web and record a public video of your hangout for later editing, sharing, and playback.

Looking for some inspiration about what you could do with Google+ Hangouts? Here are just a few ideas:

  • Hold meetings with employees and clients
  • Conduct customer or internal training
  • Participate in video chats with friends and family
  • Collaborate on documents with a group of colleagues
  • Provide customer support
  • Share your computer screen with others
  • Demonstrate your products and services
  • Host regularly scheduled video chats on a specific topic
  • Broadcast online to a large audience (through Google+ Hangouts On Air)
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