Google+ Hangouts - What Do They Do?

Google+ Hangouts – What Do They Do?

Google+ Hangouts logoGoogle+ Hangouts – What do they do and how do I participate?

That has become a common question from live audiences that I am speaking with. While Google recently announced that there are over 400 million Google+ users, it is still one of the least understood web tools on the planet. In this post, I will provide a basic introduction to one of the more interesting features – Google+ Hangouts.

Hangouts are Google’s approach to instant online meetings in which you can share video, audio and text between the participants. One of the attractions is that you can participate in a Hangout from a computer, tablet or even a smartphone. You can use it as a platform to share your message with one, a small group or a global audience.

  • For group meetings up to 10 people, you have available and powerful tools like screen sharing and Google Docs.
  • You can broadcast live and  publicly on your Google+ profile, your YouTube channel, and your website.
  • You don’t need special software to record your conversation. Every Hangout On Air is automatically saved to your YouTube account.
  • Once your hangout is over, it’s easy to keep the conversation going. Your hangout video is shared publicly on Google+ and on your YouTube channel. You can reshare this video just like any other.

Here is one of Google’s highlight reels demonstrating Hangouts:

In case you haven’t figured this out yet, video is the hottest growth area for sharing information online. When Jill Konrath starts using video to blog and share her thoughts rather than write them out, you should recognize that this trend might be worth exploring!

Like the rest of the expanding Google empire, you will need a Google account to get set up, and as I have written before , everyone should have a GMail account anyway.

Assuming you have completed the setup for a Google+ profile, here is what the main setup screen looks like:

Google+ Hangouts main screen

Notice the check box that says “Enable Hangouts on Air”.  Hangouts On Air means that you can broadcast your Hangouts live and record them as YouTube videos.

What is the application for this in sales?

  1. How about strategy meetings between sales technical, support, management and finance in multiple locations?
  2. As a replacement for those sales conference calls between the sales manager and her disperse sales team?
  3. Business partner and channel partner team communications.
  4. Customer roundtables on a specific topic.
  5. New product announcements and rollouts.
  6. Training sessions when a rapid response is needed.
  7. Press announcements about important news for your company.
  8. Live streaming audio and video from the trade show floor.
  9. Webinars (for those brave hearts or those with tech-savvy customers).
  10. Any time you want to connect quickly and spontaneously with others as a group.

I think you get the idea. I have started to incorporate this technology option into my communications mix, using it rather than GoToMeeting or one of the other traditional web meeting software tools. If you start to think of the possibilities of integrating Hangouts with many of the other Google tools such as Docs, YouTube, Calendar, and even Gmail, the idea lights start to shine bright.

I will be announcing brief Google+ Hangouts with web tool founders, authors and other interesting people in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for announcements here and in the Fill the Funnel newsletter.

Here are the links to get the apps for your smartphone of choice:

If you have an iPhone, here is the iPhone Google+ Hangouts App

If you have an Android phone, here is the link tor the Google+ Hangouts Android App

If you have already begun to use Hangouts in your sales activity, share your experiences with the rest of us in the comments area below.


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