How to video chat

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Calling someone overseas or when you are travelling can be expensive. Drew explains how to lower your communication costs by using video chat.

Google+ Hangouts
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 its best kept secret. The hangout experience is remarkable. Not only are the picture and sound crystal clear, but the capability for users to share documents for viewing, websites and even videos is outstanding with the normal restrictions you expect when talking to someone in another state are 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 the Google+ home screen. Follow the prompts and invite people to the hangout via email or name your hangout. Finally, click ‘Hang Out’ and the room will open when the first invitee joins.

Facebook Video Chat
Newly implemented to Facebook in the past six months, Facebook Video Chat allows you to start a conversation with any of your friends on the social network. Unlike other programs, you won’t need to download any software. A simple click and install of a plug-in will have you up and running in seconds.

How to get started
To get started visit //www.facebook.com/videocalling. Click on the ‘Get Started’ button. In the chat menu on the right hand side of your page, select the person you wish to video call.

Once you click on the person’s name in the far right hand side chat menu, a chat box will pop up at the bottom right of your screen. You will see the person’s name on the left hand side of the box. On the right hand side there are three icons. Click on the icon which looks like a video camera.

The person will now be prompted to start a video call with you and if either of you are first-time video users on Facebook, you will be prompted to start installing a small plug-in to support the video chat. Follow the prompts and after one minute you should be up and running.

Skype
Skype is a communication program which is free to use for chatting and video calls. There is a payment component to Skype, but that is only if you want to make inexpensive phone calls to anywhere in the world. While Video calls are most effective when both people involved in the chat have a camera, you do not need to have one of your own to receive camera footage from a friend or family member around the world. Some digital cameras can also be adapted and used as “webcams”.

How to get started
Visit //www.skype.com and click on ‘Join’ in the middle of the screen. Create a new account or sign-in with your Microsoft Account or Facebook information. Follow the prompts and click ‘I agree to join Skype’.

Now click the ‘Download Skype for Windows’ button (or similar if you are on another device). Wait for the program to download and then follow all of the installation procedures. Once installed, login with your account details and start adding contacts!

Written by Drew

Starting out as a week of work experience in 2005 while studying his Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University, Drew has never left his post and has been with the company ever since, working on the websites digital needs. Drew has a passion for all things technology which is only rivalled for his love of all things sport (watching, not playing).
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