Google Hangouts is very quickly becoming one of the most popular mediums for group chat, podcasting and business e-meetings on the internet.
For those of you that would prefer a written guide to refer to please see below the YouTube video.
So for a quick overview, what is Google Hangouts (GH)?
GH’s is an audio, video and text chat tool that can connect up to 10 people in the one virtual online room from any location in the world (that has an internet connection). It’s a free service that is available to anyone that has a Google + account.
Some of the benefits of GH’s is that you can:
- Connect with people all over the globe
- Hold one on one meetings
- Host group meetings or podcasts
- Share your screen with other participants
- Record and save the conversation on your YouTube channel
Setting up your GH:
To begin with you need a Google + account. If you don’t have one already simply go to Google + and register your details.
Now that you have your Google + account it’s time to ensure you have the equipment needed to participate in or host a GH.
You will need a PC, tablet or smartphone to join a hangout, but to host you will need a PC or certain tablets will allow this. The majority of tables and smartphones have a microphone and video camera built into them so that is all you will need. If you are using a PC though you will need a desktop camera and a microphone installed.
For standard family calls, group chats or other social events you don’t need to invest in anything too fancy, however if you are holding important work meetings or hosting a podcast it is important that you look into a decent quality microphone. Personally I recommend the Blue Yetti.
You don’t have to have a camera if you do not wish; GH will use your profile pic and display that instead of a live camera feed. The only essential item is the microphone.
If you plan on hosting the GH you will also need an active YouTube account, which you can sign in via your Google + account.
Participating in a GH:
Participating is easy; you simply wait for the host of the GH to send you a link which is your invite. You simply launch the link and you are good to go. If the GH is being broadcast live you will be able to tell by the word ‘LIVE’ displaying in the top right hand corner.
Setting up and hosting a GH:
To set up your GH go to: Google Hangouts On Air
Select: Create A Hangout On Air.
You can now choose to give the GH a name and description. If you plan on holding the GH live you should fill this information out now.
The next option you have is you can actually schedule the GH to start at a specific time in the future if you just want to get everything all set up early so it’s ready to go. If not, leave the selection on ‘Now’.
In the ‘Audience section’ you will see that ‘Public’ is already pre-populated. If you would like anyone to be able to tune in and watch/listen to the GH then leave this there. If you would like to have your conversation off air to publish at a later date remove ‘Public’. Add your attendees and select ‘Share’.
You will now be prompted to add the names of the people who will have access to join the GH.
Once the participants have joined, if you wish to record the conversation you will need to select ‘Start Broadcast’.
Once your GH is complete a copy will be saved to your YouTube channel. This can sometimes take up to 30 minutes for it to show up depending on how long your GH was.
You have now hosted and/or recorded your first GH. Congratulations.