27 February 2014

Google Plus Hangouts Feature: Don’t Miss Out

Google Plus Hangouts Feature

Google Plus Hangouts Feature

The Google Plus Hangouts feature is quite possibly the platforms most useful yet underrated feature. The Google Plus Hangouts Feature is ideally suited for personal socialising and professional work. This is due to the feature’s ease of use of the feature and its versatility. What’s more, the Google Plus Hangouts feature can be used on computers tablets and phones. Google Plus have provided two main functions to Hangouts in order to serve the needs of the individual user. These two features are Hangouts and Hangouts On Air (HOA). Both of these features cater for the requirements of distinct users, enabling users to best select the option which best suits their requirements.

How to get the Google Plus Hangouts Feature started:

On a user’s Google Plus page the Hangout option can be easily selected from the menu on the left hand side. From here, users are directed to a menu which contains current Hangout On Airs. Alternatively, users can start their own Hangouts by clicking on the red button which is found in the top right hand corner of the screen. After clicking the red button, users will be presented with a list of people in their Circles.

Attendees are not strictly computer or device bound as users can be invited into a Hangout through telephone. Hangout calls within the U.S. and Canada are free, outside of these countries the rates are easily afforded.

From here, users simply follow the prompts for friends via computer, telephone or Hangouts On Air (further information later) and then start the Hangout.

How are Hangouts different to Hangouts On Air?


Hangouts provide users with the ability to host up to ten people, one host and nine guests. Typically, standard Hangouts are an excellent forum to hold personal, private and business calls. The Hangout feature enables users to collaborate together on documents with the screenshare feature. This type of Hangout is not indexed and then saved to YouTube unlike Hangouts On Air. This provides users with far greater levels of privacy than is available in the Hangouts On Air format.

Hangouts On Air (HOA):

The HOA feature provides users with a number of benefits which are unavailable on regular Hangouts. In the HOA feature hangouts can have unlimited members, allowing for huge groups to come together and share with each other. Each HOA is public, this means that it is indexed and then saved into the hosts YouTube account to be accessed at a later date. A user’s YouTube account can upload and archive unlimited HOA videos. Unlike other video uploads, HOA uploads are not capped at fifteen minutes, HOA videos can be up to a total of three hours in length. The bonus with the HOA feature is that it enables users and businesses to upload immediately, enabling them to push their latest content at a much quicker rate.

What useful tools does the Google Plus Hangouts Feature provide for its users?

Google Plus Hangouts Feature screen shares


The screenshare function is ideally suited for use in remote meetings. This is because a visual aid can dramatically increase the levels of clarity with both the user and other members of the Hangout, improving the efficiency and subsequent results of the Hangout. However there is one notable drawback with the screenshare feature. Namely, that this feature is not available to users on phone based Hangouts.  When selecting the screenshot feature, the source documents are not limited to those contained with the Sky Drive. In order to share files with screenshare, users simply select the Share option in their window. From here they are provided with a selection of files and sources to share. Included in these sources are the users documents and open windows. The quality of this depends on a number of factors. These factors include things like screen size and screen resolution. The screenshare feature is perfectly suited to be used to present private presentations or to perform sales calls in instances where a physical meeting is impossible.

Google Plus Hangouts Feature Effects


The effects feature enables users to bring a little bit of fun to their Hangouts. The effects include, sounds, hats, eyewear and facial hair among others. It is interesting how the facial recognition feature comes into effect with the effects feature of Google Plus Hangouts. Effects provide users with numerous comical combination to play with, these additions follow the users head as they move around the screen as they talk and interact in the Hangout. Unfortunately perhaps, effects can only be attached to the human face.

What are the benefits of using the Google Plus Hangouts Feature?

There are multiple benefits for users who utilise the Hangout feature. Hangouts differ from other screen sharing software and programs as it provides a clear image and is free of charge. With Hangouts there are minimal delays and the image quality is superior to that which is provided by some of the paid services. In addition, the ability to index videos on YouTube provides users with an accurately achieved history with minimal input on their part. This feature makes it much easier for users to later share this content with others through social media or other internet sources.

Hangouts have one notable difference to the On Air Service which is provided by Yahoo! This difference is that currently content cannot be shared via Twitter and Facebook simultaneously in real time. However the ability provided by Hangouts to index immediately and have unlimited members, greatly outweigh this minor setback.

Furthermore, when it comes to the Hangouts feature Google has consistently shown its willingness to listen to user’s feedback and complaints, making changes accordingly, such as the changes to screen size.

Google Plus Hangouts Feature for Business

Why does the Google Plus Hangouts Feature matter to businesses?

Numerous elements of the Google Plus hangout feature are beneficial to businesses. These include, the fact that the service is free which makes it easily usable by small businesses and freelancers. Furthermore, the tool provides users with a comprehensive yet easy to use tool which can be harnessed to drastically increase a company or business’s online presence. Businesses and companies which utilise the Hangout tool to perform remote meetings enable them to greatly improve the scope of their recruitment pool regardless of the individual’s specific geographic location. Due to the clarity and functionality of the Hangout’s screen-sharing feature remote training can be easily and effectively conducted.

Hosting regular HOAs provide users with YouTube content which can be easily and effectively promoted as part of a company’s existing online marketing strategy. This enables companies to boost their online fan base and following. The HOA feature can be utilised to host both discussions and demonstrations. Ways in which the HOA feature can be used by businesses and companies include:

  • To provide educational lectures.
  • To deliver a product demonstration as part of a sales pitch.
  • To provide lessons, such as cookery or languages.
  • To deliver professional workshops and presentations.

Each of these activities can be easily hosted with the Hangouts On Air feature. Whether the Google Plus Hangouts feature is used as an online conferencing and screensharing tool, or HOA is deployed to provide videos on YouTube to educate target audience members, the Hangout tool should be integral to the online operates of any business or company.