Google Hangouts

Let's Hangout on Google Hangouts!

A free, 10-way video conferencing service that includes tools (like an electronic whiteboard) - and technically quite impressive. One-to-many video (like a teacher talking to a class of students) is hard enough to implement reliably with good performance... 10-way (many-to-many) video is an order-of-magnitude more difficult. Thanks to Google Fiber connecting thousands of servers, Google Hangouts works and works well. It is the best-of-class service available anywhere in the world. For free!

screencap of Google Hangout entry screen

 

REQUIRES: Microphone and web cam connected and working on your PC. Windows config of these items - especially if you have multiple microphones or video devices connected - can be tricky. If you have things configured so video Skype is working, then G+ Hangouts will work fine under that same Windows configuration. (Don't try to run Skype - or any application that uses the camera or microphone - and Hangouts at the same time, they will fight over the microphone and camera.)

 

You may need to download a plug-in called "Google Video" for your browser. Check out the official Google Hangouts features and tutorials - nice!

Google Hangouts Features   Getting started on Google+

 

The set up is easy.

 

Step 1: Get a Google Account.
If you don't have one, you can create one here: https://accounts.google.com/SignUp
(Don't worry about filling in your profile if you aren't going to use G+ as a social network. Just fill in the minimum required fields -- you can always add more later if you want.)

 

Step 2: Sign In.
If you go to http://www.google.com and you aren't signed in, you'll see a little gray "Sign in" button at the top right.
If you want to sign in a jump to Google+ directly, click the "You+" link in the black menu bar at the top of the page.

If you go to http://www.google.com and see "Yourname+" at the top as the first item in the black menu bar, you are already signed in.

 

Step 3: Go to Google+
Once logged in, the first link in the black menu bar at the top changes to "Yourname+" (Mine says "Katin+", for example).
Click that to go to your G+ page.

 

Step 4: Add each other to our circles.
You can just go to my G+ pages and use the red "Add to circle" button to connect us.

Kaitn's G+ page:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/101322616557684647456/posts

 

Now we are ready to Hangout, anytime!

 

 

"Start a Hangout"
With a wide screen (over 1380px wide), the "Start a hangout" button is at the top right.
On slimmer screens, there are two buttons in the third section down in the right sidebar. On my page, the right sidebar shows a "You May Know" section, then a "Complete Your Profile" section, then the "Hangouts" section. A Yellow "Start a Hangout" button is there, and a gray "Hang out" button is there -- they both do the same thing: start a hangout. Once the Hangout window opens, you'll have the fields to invite folks to the hangout. You can use names or email addresses, and they will come up as you type.

See a screen capture video of this process (139MB file, requires Quicktime):
video screencap link
http://digitalreef.net/video/Google_starting_hangout.mov

 

...or "Join a Hangout"
The easy path here is to simply be logged into Google, and be on any Google services page... G+, gMail, Google Search, anything. When someone invites you, a pop-up will show the invite and a button to join the hangout. If you are on your G+ page, you'll also get a blue "Hang out" button in a new item at the top of your activity feed.

See a screen capture video of this process (68MB file, requires Quicktime):
video screencap link
http://digitalreef.net/video/Google_joining_hangout.mov

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