Hangouts are essentially video conferences, but with a casual twist. Google+ named it “hangouts” to give it a spontaneous feel. All you need to do is click “Hangout,” invite a few friends and you can just hang out on video. If other friends see your hangout in their feeds, they can join and hang out as well.
Of course even though the primary positioning is casual video chat, you can also use the technology for business meetings, conferences, brainstorming and one on one chats.
Here’s how to use Google+ hangouts.
STEP 1: GO TO HANGOUTS
Check out your Hangouts on the right of your screen.
STEP 2: CLICK “NEW HANGOUT”
Click on “New Hangout” on the top of your Hangouts box.
STEP 3: ADD OR REMOVE PEOPLE
Click the “x” button in the upper right corner of any circle to remove the circle. Check the box next to any other person or circle to open the hangout to more people.
STEP 4: START THE HANGOUT!
Once you’ve told Google who you want to hang out with, click the little video camera icon to get started!
You’ll immediately see a screen with anyone else in the hangout, along with your own video so you can see how you look.
STEP 5: INVITING MORE PEOPLE
If you’re in the middle of a hangout and want to invite more people, just click on “Invite.”
You’ll then be taken to the invite screen where you can invite more people to your hangout.
STEP 6: TEXT CHAT
Sometimes you’ll want to use text chat in addition to video chat. For example, if someone wants to share a link to something online, it’s a lot easier to just paste the link in a text chat rather than spell it out in video.
To access the text chat, click “Chat.”
Then use the chat box like any other chat room box.
STEP 7: SHARING YOUTUBE VIDEOS
Hangouts makes it very easy to share videos. You essentially have one group “channel” that everyone can watch at the same time. Anyone can set the video that the player is set to and everyone else in the video can watch the same video at the same time.
To share or watch a video, click “YouTube.”
You can choose videos from your playlists or search from YouTube videos. You can also create and save a playlist together! If you want to talk during the video, just click “Push to talk”.
STEP 8: OTHER SETTINGS
To mute your video or audio, click either of the mute buttons in the lower right corner. These are useful for if you need to step away from your video for a few minutes, if one person is speaking or if your dog’s barking in the background.
To access additional microphone and video settings, click “Settings.”
Here you can set your microphone and camera. You can test the various settings to make sure everything’s working properly.
That’s how to use hangouts. You’ve just learned how to start a new hangout, how to set who the hangout is open to, how to invite more people, how to use the text chat, how to share YouTube videos and how to set your microphone and video settings.
Hangouts really takes connecting with friends online to the next level. Instead of just sharing casual, spontaneous status updates, you can now share entire social interactions spontaneously.