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Hangout with Google+

by Joy Loving, Station Products & Innovation

You’ve seen the commercials - people and their circles of friends and family members, connecting over video via Google+. Google’s latest social networking effort, slated to be Facebook’s largest competitor, is growing quite a large following.

In July 2011, we introduced you to Google+. Since then, there have been several reports that Google+ has an estimated 10 million users to date. Unlike Facebook, the number one attraction to Google+ is the privacy settings, which allow users greater control over who sees what they are sharing online.

Another advantage of using Google+ is Hangout, video-chatting that allows users to use other sharing features during their chats. If you have G-mail, you’ll probably notice the similarities between G-chat and Hangout, such as the ability to instant message while corresponding over video. There is also a “Skype” element to Hangout, as it allows users to share YouTube videos while chatting. Hangout also capitalizes on Google Docs by enabling users to collaborate on documents simultaneously.

Google+ recently experimented with a broadcast version of Hangout. Called the On-Air Hangout, this version of the video-chat tool allows viewers to see specific broadcasts at any time, nationally and internationally. Just recently, PBS NewsHour experimented with this feature, which allowed Google+ members to view their production without having to actually join the Hangout.

These innovations have us curious as to whether Google+ Hangout would be an effective tool for meetings, perhaps taking the place of traditional webinars or virtual meetings that use sites such as GoToMeeting.com. Typically, a maximum of 10 users may “hangout” at a time. Just make sure your web-cam and microphone are in working order, and you’re good to go! Hangout gives station team members the ability to stay in contact with each other outside of the office when necessary, and encourages collaboration. For example, a station’s communication team could collaborate with a national producer around an upcoming promotion by using Google+ Hangout as an alternative to the traditional conference call.

Interested in learning more about Google+? There are several video tutorials available via Google itself, or YouTube. Want to Hangout with us on Google+? Look for us to experiment with the tool sometime soon. Send us your thoughts and let us know if you’re interested in the comments section below!

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