Beth Hayden at Copyblogger put together an excellent article on 12 Ways to Connect, Create, and Collaborate Using Google Hangouts. She discusses everything from hosting virtual office hours to creating video interviews to holding meetings. It is a helpful list for getting us think about the many benefits of leveraging synchronous communication tools like this. Here are similar articles with a variety of additional potential uses.
- 4 Creative Ways People are Using Google Hangouts
- 5 Unconventional Uses of Google Hangouts
- 9 Creative Uses of Google Hangouts You Didn’t Think Of
- 5 Creative Ways Businesses are Using Google Hangouts
- How Educators and Schools Can Make the Most of Google Hangouts
- Use Google Hangouts for a Virtual Scavenger Hunt
- How are Educators Using Google Hangouts?
- How to Use Google Hangouts for Your Business
- 50 Great Ways Schools Can Use Google Hangouts
- Six Practical Uses of Google Hangouts for Online Education
For those of you who have not used Google Hangouts very much, it has a number of features that make it a great option for real-time online communication.
- It is free.
- You can have a video/audio chat with up to ten people at the same time.
- It it part of Google+ and you can schedule and invite people to a Hangout, which then automatically provides email instructions and reminders for all potential participants.
- You can enable “Hangouts on Air” and the entire exchange is live streamed through YouTube. It is also recorded for later viewing, sharing, or downloading.
- It has an easy to use screen sharing feature that makes it simple to have one or more people present with a tool of the presenter’s choice.
- You can play YouTube videos in the Hangout, watch, and discuss them with others.
- You can watch a live streaming YouTube videos together.
- There is a text-based chat feature in the room.
- One of the add-on apps allows you to view and collectively edit Google Docs with participants.
- Another add-on app, Cacoo, allows you to collectively work on a variety of document templates (diagrams, charts, graphic organizers, etc.).
For groups of 10 or fewer, Google Hangouts is easy, reliable and just as effective as many of the other well-known conferencing tools that charge a fee. Of course, some of these other paid services have far more built-in features, but for most of my purposes, Google Hangouts works well.