Google+ released Hangouts as an upgrade and replacement for its Talk application. Built into Google Mail, Google Apps and the Google+ platform, it provides an integrated platform for users with a Google account to talk. It also allows VoiP and Video calls, and calls to mobile and landline networks. But is it just another Skype or Go2Meeting competitor? Ronan Walsh finds out…

Hangouts are similar to your average Skype and Go2meeting with video calling at the core. But Google Hangouts are different to your average video conference calling software. Google have really focused on not only the quality of video and instant messaging but also what a user actually wants to do while making a video call.

Hangouts

Hangouts have instant messaging as well as video calling but by the click of a button you can share images or videos from your computer easily which makes it unbelievably easy to explain ideas and share information with everybody in the hangout.

Google IM hangout

 

Simplified Video Calls

Google Hangouts has simplified video conference calls. You can describe in depth information by sharing screenshots, images or files at the touch of a button . Watching YouTube has never been as interactive as the whole hangout can watch together and conversations have never been as amusing with Google Effects.

hangout side bar

Chat – similarly to any other video conferencing platform you can send instant messages and have multiple video calls in the one window

hangout chat

Screenshare – Describe your thoughts and share information easily by sharing a screen shot of your computer which is now possible at the push of a button during a video call

hang out screen share

Capture – Take action snap shots of the other users video stream, or even your own.

hangout capture

YouTube – Share informative YouTube videos with the group to help people grasp your concept.

Google screen share

Google Effects – Having a Video Call with a friend, switch off and use Google Effects. Add entertaining sound effects and facial recognition clip art to your video

Hangouts Google Effects

You can also add applications to your Google chat. One app I would recommend to get straight away is  the “Google Hangout Tool box” Which allows you to add your name and a tag line to your video and gives you the option to “De-Face” yourself.

google De Face

Video Conferencing Killer

This is the real feature for Google+ users – connecting with friends, colleagues and clients. This is a light weight, full featured video conferencing tool with Screen and file sharing, but also provides a whole lot of toys to keep everyone entertained. We predict that Google Hangouts is not only a serious contender to other apps like Skype and Go2Meeting, but it could be a Go2Meeting killer.

Hangouts is seriously leightweight, with a tiny plug-in that is installed seamlessly. Once installed, you’re connected to hangouts from inside any Google App – Mail, Apps, Analytics and of course, Google+.

 hangouts on Air images

The Big Killer Feature

This isn’t only convenience factor. Anybody can run an “On-Air” – which is essentially video pod casting for the masses. You can hold a Google Hangout and let hundreds or thousands of people join and watch your video cast. When you’re done, you can automatically share it on G+ and YouTube at the click of a button. You can have up to 10 (including yourself) participants in an On-Air discussion, while Google+ beams it out to all of your subscribers

Barack Obama’s Google Hangout

The Go Anywhere App

One of the fantastic things about Hangouts is that you can stay in the conversation no matter where you are and no matter what device you are on and even if you want to switch device you can easily jump straight back into your conversation by clicking on your Hangouts history.

hangouts app

The Hangout Look

Google is conveniently available for android, apple and a desktop plugin which means that all of your friends can join in, in the fun (but only the ones with a gmail account). Just like Facebook Chat, Google have integrated Hangouts with Google+ and also added “Hangouts on Air” making Google hangouts almost unavoidable.

Google+ hangouts

Google Hangouts have spotted what Skype and Go2meeting have been missing for years and that is interaction. Find a friend and try “Google Hangouts” as soon as you can.

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