Google Hangouts, the videoconferencing service from Google, can be used in different professional contexts. Featuring advanced collaborative features, it can also be used to disseminate public events (live), thanks to its integration with YouTube. Here's some tips on how to make a professional use of Google Hangouts (private or public).
What is Google Hangouts?
Google Hangouts is a multi-user videoconferencing service integrated to the Google + social network, also connected to Gmail, and available as a stand alone mobile application for Android and iOS.
Main features of Google Hangouts
Virtual meetings with up to 10 participants, connected via the web interface (with a Google account) in videoconferencing mode. Participants can also be reached by phone (audio mode: via Google Voice)
Support the integration of third party applications to enrich videoconferencing: Slideshare, Google Drive, Cacoo (sharing diagrams), Symphonica (collaborative task manager).
Work in a collaborative mode and simultaneously on Google Docs: text, spreadsheet, presentation.
Public Mode: Live broadcast of video conferencing on Google Plus and Youtube.
The professional uses of Google Hangouts
Virtual seminars (webinars)
Events: conference, product launch, debate, living room, etc..
A quality webcam and speakers (or headphones), and a good internet connection (broadband recommended).
Have good microphone.
Preparation of a videoconference via Google Hangout
Choose a quiet place, with good lighting conditions.
All the concerned users must have a Google + account. They must appear in one of your circles, and you figure in one of their circles.
For simplicity, create a circle dedicated to Google Plus hangout where you can add all the concerned users.
Train your employees on how using Google Hangouts (remember the technical pre-requisites).
Install Hangout Toolbox, another application for creating overlays in the main image to identify the participants.
Provide an action plan and send it to the participants before the videoconference.
How to manage audio and video during the hangout?
The options of the hangout are accessible at the top of the window dedicated to videoconferencing:
Enable/disable the microphone
Enable/disable the camera
Adjust the bandwidth
Settings: This button allows you to manage access to Google devices and test the sound.
Create and start a hangout
Login to Google + and go to "Hangouts" (left sidebar) > then "Create a Hangout".
Name the hangout, to allow the other participants to quickly identify it.
Invite your contacts
Broadcast a live hangout on YouTube
For a public and live broadcasting of your hangout, you will need to validate your YouTube account.
A YouTube account can be quickly validated via SMS, and the procedure can be performed directly from the interface of the Hangout.