How does Google+ Hangouts work

Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is an application from Google for video conferences or video chats or video calls that users can make via the Google+ social network or the Gmail mailing service. In order to be able to participate in a hangout, the participants must have a Google Plus account and be logged in. In addition to the live video image, everyone involved in a hangout can share images or emoticons with one another.

History [edit]

In September 2011, Google expanded its Google+ platform to include the Hangouts function. In this way, Google+ users were able to talk via video chat. However, the Google Talk service, a chat program that could be used via Gmail, still existed in parallel. In 2013, Google+ Hangouts was merged with Google Talk to form Google Hangouts. This means that Google Hangouts is in direct competition with popular messenger services such as Whatsapp or Skype.

The special thing about Google Hangouts is that a Hangout can be continued across platforms. A user can start a hangout e.g. on the desktop, continue it on the smartphone and end it on a notebook. In addition, video calls or chats can be recorded and archived.

Google Hangouts are also available as an app for Android and iOS. The app for Google's mobile operating system also offers the option of using SMS and MMS via Google Hangouts.

The Hangout on Air for politicians

With a so-called "Hangout on Air", the Google Hangout technology is used to stream an event. In this way, many different users can participate in the hangout and follow the conversations.

On Valentine's Day 2013, US President Barack Obama started a Google Hangout to discuss his State of the Union address with citizens.[1]

Chancellor Angela Merkel has also recognized the popularity of the Google Hangout. In April 2013 she started a public hangout to discuss integration.[2]

The well-known US technology portal Mashable also uses Hangouts to talk to users about news from the world of technology[3]

Benefits for marketing

With Google Hangouts, companies have a good opportunity to communicate with their customers or prospects or to use a live streaming platform for events. The disadvantage of Google Hangouts is that Google+ is less common in Germany.

Features [edit]

Google Hangouts is primarily a messaging service. If you are logged in with your Google Plus account, you can send messages, images, hyperlinks or URLs to videos. In addition, these basic functions are also available in the mobile apps. Both Android smartphones and the iPhone from Apple are supported. All that is required here is a download to the mobile device. A special feature is the possibility of starting video conferences and thus communicating with several participants.

The so-called Hangouts on Air extend this concept even further: video transmissions can also be implemented as live streams, so that video content can be viewed by a large number of users. The corresponding Hangouts on Air channels can be accessed via Google Plus and YouTube. Content that is no longer than two hours can also be edited in terms of image quality after it has been broadcast live and saved in the YouTube channel.

The following features have recently been added to Google Hangouts:

  • Location sharing: If Google Hangouts is used as an app on the mobile phone, the current location can be communicated. Appropriate settings are required for this.
  • SMS support: SMS can be sent with Google Hangouts. The messenger is simply used as an SMS mailbox. This also works for recipients who are not using Google Hangouts themselves.
  • Send animated GIFs: Animated graphics in GIF format can be sent.

Changes to Google Hangouts on Air:

  • Picture effects: With video chats, certain sharpening and smoothing functions can be used to improve the image in the chat.
  • HD and full screen: If the internet connection is fast enough, Hangouts on Air will automatically play in HD resolution.
  • Planning and Google Plus profile: Hangouts on Air can be terminated. In addition, your own website can be created within the Google Plus network to inform recipients about a public video stream.
  • Control room for hangouts: Individual parameters of a video chat can be controlled here. Such as the volume or which participant is currently on the screen. You can also be thrown out of the chat here.[4]

Advantages and disadvantages

Google Hangouts offers numerous functions that are already fully integrated. In terms of performance, Google Hangouts is way ahead of its competitors. Google Hangouts offer the complete spectrum of Internet communication and even integrate an SMS service. The fact that the service is also available as an app for various mobile operating systems makes it interesting for flexible, mobile communication. However, Google also had to take criticism: In particular for the automatic distribution of the location.

In the meantime, however, this function is no longer activated automatically, so that users can decide for themselves who they want to share their location with.[5] Users should also know that all SMS sent via Hangouts are sent via the Google server. Google offers its infrastructure here completely free of charge, but if you don't want your SMS to be sent through international server farms, you shouldn't use the service for short messages.

Alternatives [edit]

The most famous alternative is initially Skype, the basic version of which is free of charge. In terms of functions, a similar spectrum is offered - even if Google is further in terms of technology and functionality, Skype offers VOIP telephony and is characterized by good video quality. There are enough programs for video chats: Appear.in, Sqwiggle, vLine or zoom.us - however, few programs offer such extensive functions as Google Hangouts and only concentrate on videdochating.[6] Open source solutions that are designed as instant messengers and video chats are: Jitski and Etiga - although Jitsi is still in development.

References Edit]

  1. ^ Barack Obama's Google Hangout on February 14, 2013. Retrieved on December 5, 2013.
  2. ↑ Angela Merkel discusses integration in the hangout. Retrieved on December 5, 2013.
  3. Jump up ↑ Hangouts from Mashable. Retrieved on December 5, 2013.
  4. ↑ Google + Hangouts now with location sharing, animated GIFs and SMS support.t3n.de. Retrieved on June 9, 2014.
  5. ↑ Share your location.support.google.com. Retrieved on June 9, 2014.
  6. ^ Three Alternatives to Google Hangouts. jesseddy.com. Retrieved on June 9, 2014.

Web links [edit]