Google+ Hangouts

A recent addition to the range of free online products offered by Google is their web based video conferencing software Google+ Hangouts. Drew explains why Google+ Hangouts offers a better user experience than Skype.

Google+ Hangouts are a key add-on to Google’s now one-year-old social networking product Google+ and there is no doubt that it is their best kept secret. I was eager to try out Google+ and secured an invite to the social network within the first week but wasn’t impressed by the layout and how few friends had joined that I simply didn’t explore all of the features and left my account dormant. Last week I was asked to video conference with two different people interstate via a Google+ Hangout.

To my surprise the experience was remarkable. Not only was the picture and sound crystal clear, but the capability for users to share documents for viewing, websites and even videos was outstanding. The normal restrictions you expect when talking to someone in another state were erased. Ultimately, the best component of Google+ Hangouts is that you don’t need to download any program, it is 100 per cent online.

How to get started
Start by downloading the Google voice and video plugin. Visit www.google.com and click the ‘Install Plugin’ button. This will automatically install on your web browser.

If you don’t already have a Google+ account, you will need to create one at www.google.com  

Once logged in, to start a Google+ Hangout, simply click the ‘Start a hangout’ button at the top right hand side of your home screen of Google+. Follow the prompts and invite people to the hangout via email and also name your hangout. Finally, click ‘Hang Out’ and the room will open when the first invitee joins.

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