I have recently had a chance to take the Google+ Hangout for some test drives. I was curious to see how I could apply it as a business tool.
I am pleased to say that it is impressive and for those of you who haven’t seen a need to get a Google+ account, you have one now.
This to me is the most important feature that Google offers.
A Hangout offers a business many wonderful options such as:
- Allowing up to 10 people to meet online either as a public or a private hangout.
- In a public hangout, any number of people can “drop in” and watch.
- Conduct business meetings online. You have sales staff or executives spread out at different locations around the globe? A Hangout makes it easy to get them together.
- Meet with clients online.
- Conduct topical business discussions online with expert panelists and to a viewing audience.
- You can broadcast your hangout live and also save it as a YouTube video. This is a great feature which allows you to create and then show training / instructional videos because you can also activate the Screenshot feature which allows your audience to see your computer screen. Now with a click of a button you can train someone online who is thousands of miles away.
- You can also collaborate and edit Google documents live with your business partner or your support staff.
Another great feature I liked is that when in a hangout, you have the main large viewer and below that, there are thumbnail views of the other (up to 9) participants and the cool part about this is the main viewer is voice activated so whoever is talking appears in the main viewer.
Great for maintaining focus on the speaker as well as maintaining control of how the meeting is presented.
Finally a very clever feature is the Toolbox. You can use this to customize the lower third of your screen with your logo and custom colored name banner across the bottom much like you see on news reports when a reporter is talking live on TV.
You can save more than one banner in case you wish to use different banners for different types of meetings.
Google+ Hangouts bring business into the age of video. Business can become their own broadcaster, create their own instructional / educational videos in-house, and hold seminars / workshops online.
I am fairly new to the Hangout and I found I was able to seek advice and knowledge from various members of Google+. There are a number of great instructional videos and knowledge pieces to be found on Google+ by such guru’s as +Ronnie Bincer, +Ray Hiltz and +Mark Traphagen.
Here is one word of caution. If you want to get the best video experience, use quality and up to date technology as well as making sure you good and reliable high speed internet connection.
Old computers running XP and low cost standard definition web cams will reduce your experience as will a poor or slow internet connection.
So if you need only one reason to join Google+, Hangouts is it. Check it out.