Hey y’all. For today’s tech tips I’m going to show you how to use my favorite feature of Google+, which is Google Hangouts.
But let’s start with some truth telling first of all. I don’t totally get Google+. I mean, I understand what it does and mostly how it works, but the appeal of it is something I don’t get so much. With Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest as soon as I was introduced there was an immediate aha! so this is fun kind of reaction. With Google+ that hasn’t happened. I guess I could say the same kind of thing about Twitter. I like Twitter for live events, but just to turn it on for no reason and see what’s going on? Not so much.
So disclaimers out of the way, Google+ Hangouts are my favorite part of G+. And here’s how you do it.
First, navigate to your G+ page (plus.google.com – if you’re not logged in it will prompt you to log in). It will look something like this.
See down there in the bottom right corner? Click on “Start a video Hangout”. A box like the one below will pop up, and you then type in names or email addresses of the person or people you want to hangout with. You can have up to 10 people in a Google Hangout, which makes it great for conference calls and brainstorming sessions. In fact, this is one of the tools those of us at Pattern Anthology use to collaborate.
Once you send an invite, it will send a notification to your friends if they’re on G+ and also to their email. Which brings us to the first point of Google Hangout etiquette – it’s a good idea to coordinate with your friends ahead of time, so you are all at the computer for the hangout. Plus, that way everyone gets to take a shower since hangouts are video as well as audio.
If it’s your first hangout, Google will prompt you to install some software so that the hangout will work. Follow the prompts and instructions.
You can see that there is a text chat part on the right side of the screen – this is useful if you’re sharing notes or an agenda or something. If you hover on the screen on the right, some other tools will pop up. If you hover over any of them, they’ll tell you what they do. The one I use most often is the screenshare tool – which is the green icon.
One more thing that’s kind of cool about hangouts – in general the software will put the person talking as the biggest one on screen, and the other participants will have small pictures at the bottom.
What if you want to plan a hangout ahead of time? You can do that too. From your main G+ screen, click the menu on the left. Choose “Events”
That will take you to a screen that looks kind of like this, except the events you’ve participated in will be visible instead of my blocked out ones. On the top right you can click “Plan a Hangout”
That will get you to this screen. Put in the date and time, and then click “Event Options”.
That will bring up a drop down menu that looks like this:
Click the triangle next to “Advanced” and make sure it says “Event is Online Only”
Then you just fill in the names or email addresses of the people you’re going to hang out with, and it will put it in your G+ feed and invite those people.
When you go to start a scheduled hangout, don’t be surprised if you have to re-invite the people you’re planning to hangout with just like if you hadn’t planned ahead. It happens.
So, there you go – how to google hangout.