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How to Use Google+ Hangouts for Beginners

How to Start a Google+ Hangout

If you haven't at least played around with Google Hangouts inside Google+ then you simply do not know what you are missing.  Its very similar to Skype except for you do not have to pay for it, you can have 30 or so people chatting simultaneously and it is even perfect for streaming live video conferences.  There are many values to Google Hangouts which happen to be quite practical for professional land surveyors and after this quick tutorial I will provide a few ideas on how you can use to to improve your business, network online with your fellow members and attend surveying conferences from the comfort of your living room.


Google Apps chat, voice, and video are all great features... but now let us introduce you to Google+ Hangouts. Google+ Hangouts are great alternatives to getting face time. In the business world, Google+ Hangouts allows you to quickly establish a video conference with colleagues and coworkers from all over. Chat, voice, and video come together in the harmonious  blend that is Google+ Hangout. Let us help you get started with your first hangout or show you some features you didn't know were there!

Features Of Google+ Hangouts
It's FREE!
Easily accessible in the Google+ environment
Have 1:1 session or a hangout with multiple people
Dial in individuals by his or her phone number with Hangouts with extras
Group Chat
Group Video Chat
Did we mention is was FREE?

How To Start A Hangout
While signed into your Google+ account, you will find the option to start a Hangout on the right side of your screen. 

Selecting the 'start a hangout' button will open a new window where you can invite others and begin your hangout. You can easily add groups of people by inviting circles rather than individuals.  

In the new window, you can now select individuals or circles of people to invite to your hangout. Once you enter individuals or circles of people you wish to hangout with, you can now select the green 'hang out' button. Don't forget to turn on your camera and microphone!

At the bottom of the window, you will notice the option to Try Hangouts with extras. This option is similar to the original Hangout with some added features that include:

*Photo from Google+ Help Page

Working in the Hangout
Now that you have started a hangout, here are some pointers for the different options and settings. In the top left of the Hangout window, you will notice the buttons 'chat, invite, screenshare, YouTube'. Each buttons is useful while conducting a hangout.

Chat: A group chat for all individuals in the hangout 
Invite: Invite more people to your current hangout
Screenshare: Share your screen so you can give demonstrations to your peers/colleagues.
YouTube: Get a group together to watch a video on YouTube. Either an informational video or the latest viral video. 

Aside from these feature, the button on the right side of your screen will allow you to control your own interaction in the hangout. 

These settings will allow you to mute your microphone, turn off your camera, manipulate your general settings under the gear, or exit the hangout entirely.

Case Scenario
Although Hangouts are very cool, here is a scenario you may find useful in your business practices. For this scenario, let's assume Brian, Matt, and Tina all work for the same surveying company. Currently, Brian, Matt, and Tina are working remotely in different states.  Brian needs to have a meeting with Matt and Tina to discuss a botched survey, show them an informational video, and answer questions they may have. Brian does not want to wait until the next time he is able to see them because he hope to get this information immediately. Brian starts up a Google+ Hangout so he can video conference with Matt and Tina about this terrible survey and discuss what needs to happen next. They all watch an informational video on YouTube and Brian is able to answer questions on the side in the group chat. Then, Brian shares his screen to review documentation while still being able to see Matt and Tina. This survey was easily fixed to Matt and Tina while they were remote.

The same type of scenario is possible for Chapter Meetings and Surveyor Conferences.  Now everyone can attend and vote for new motions on the floor!

Google+ Hangouts are perfect for those times you are trying to reach someone that is working remotely or you are just trying to get everyone on the same page. Here is a list of of examples the Google+ Hangouts can help you and your business:

  • Having a sick day and you don't want the project to steer off course? Use Google+ Hangout from home.
  • Have to drive 45 minutes through traffic to get to a 30 minute meeting? Use Google+ Hangouts from your office.
  • Working in the field and need to touch base with your team? Use Google+ Hangouts remotely
  • Does you family live far away? Have a family reunion in Google+ Hangouts.
  • On Vacation and forgot to cancel that meeting? Do it in a Google+ Hangout.
  • Going on an extended business trip and miss your family and dog? Say hello in a Google+ Hangout.
It's easy to see how Google+ Hangouts can help you. Be sure to leave us some comments on your experience with Google+ Hangouts.

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