Goshen News, Goshen, IN

September 22, 2013

TECH TALK WITH MIKE: Google+ Hangouts: High tech video conferencing

By MIKE GINGERICH
COLUMNIST

GOSHEN — Google is known first and foremost for its search engine. How many of us tell others to “just Google it,” and it is clear we mean to search online for it? Perhaps the company’s second most recognized online tool is YouTube. With Google being the most popular search engine and YouTube the most popular video service online, Google has a good thing going.



What many people might not be as familiar with is Google’s social media network called Google+, and in particular, some of the high-tech features it offers for free. While Google+ has more than 500 million registered users, it is not quite as mainstream in terms of awareness and use as Facebook and Twitter. That being said, though, Google+ is a online tool that offers businesses some important features they should take into consideration that can have a positive impact on sales and marketing efforts.

One of the most advanced and powerful features that Google+ offers is Hangouts.  With one click, you can set up face-to-face video conversations with customers and partners at HD quality. All you need is a webcam, microphone and good Internet connection to get started. You can even use a tablet or mobile device.  

Google Hangouts offer multiple features including instant video conferencing as we noted but also invitation only and public options for video streaming as well. Hangouts can be joined via a computer, Android device, or iPhone. There are features to share your screen, perfect for demonstrating something on your screen, and even for creating a shared whiteboard space to collaborate online.

A key feature is called “Hangouts on Air.” When using the “On Air” tool it adds functionality so you can stream live to an unlimited audience, connect and stream to your YouTube Channel, and even embed on your website. As well, the Hangout On Air is automatically saved to your connected YouTube account as a video, allowing the video recording to be available on Google+ and  your YouTube Channel.



Google Hangouts offer businesses a powerful and inexpensive way to go “high tech” and integrate video conferencing into their business routines. Uses include opportunity for dispersed offices to have team meetings together online, or for the sales department to present to a client. Another use is for personal customer service, and the On Air Hangouts can be a way to do live webinar presentations to talk about new products, show by demonstration how to setup and use products, and to give a insider view of your company culture.

So before you dismiss video conferencing and live streaming presentations as too expense or futuristic, know that Google has brought this service to the general public and there are business uses that can help save time and travel costs by simply using the Google+ Hangout private or public video conferencing and broadcasting tools!

Mike Gingerich leads the Social Application division of web design company, Digital Hill Multimedia (http://www.DigitalHill.com). He is a co-founder of TabSite.com, a leader in Facebook fan page tools for businesses. TabSite offers brands the power to boost Facebook marketing with contests and promotions.  For more information on TabSite, please visit www.tabsite.com.