Google+ Hangouts: Engage, Inform, and Entertain with Google's Free Video Conferencing and Broadcasting Tool
Extending and Enhancing Your Hangout with Apps
To add more interactivity to your hangouts, consider using one of the many Google+ Hangout apps available. Your choices include:
- [lb] Screenshare. If you want to discuss something that’s on your computer screen during a hangout, you can use the screenshare feature to do so. For example, you could review a presentation or collaborate on a document with a group of people using screenshare. To share your screen during your hangout, click the Screenshare button at the top of the Google+ Hangouts window, select the window you want to share in the GoogleTalk Screen Sharing Request dialog box, and click the Share Selected Window button.
- YouTube. Google+ gives you the option of viewing YouTube videos while you’re hanging out. To play a YouTube video, click the YouTube button at the top of the Google+ Hangouts window, click the Add Videos to Playlist button, select the video you want to play, and press the Play Current Video button (see Figure 5).
- Google Effects. To apply special effects during your hangout, click the Google Effects button at the top of the Google+ Hangouts window and select an effect from the available options (see Figure 6). For example, you can apply humorous effects such as headwear, eyewear, and facial hair. Obviously, these effects aren’t suited to every hangout and are most appropriate when you’re hanging out just for fun.
- Google Docs. To integrate Google Docs with your hangout, click the Google Docs button at the top of the Google+ Hangouts window. Using this feature, you can also create shared notes and a shared sketchpad.
- Other Apps. To add other applications to your hangout, click the Add App button at the top of the Google+ Hangouts window and choose your preferred app. Options include SlideShare (to share SlideShare presentations) or Cacoo for Hangouts (online drawing tool).
Figure 5 Watching a YouTube video during a hangout.
Figure 6 Add special effects to enliven your hangout.
With so many available options, Google+ Hangouts is a powerful, yet flexible tool for your video chat and broadcasting needs.