4 Things I Learned in My First Google Hangout

Recently participated in my first Google Hangout. It was fabulous. Hangouts are desktop video conferencing on the social networking site, Google+. This one was organized by Sacha Chua at Living An Awesome Life ostensibly to talk about and learn blogging, but clearly the unspoken agenda was to experiment with the Google Hangout platform to determine if it would be a good way to connect with others and add to the depth of the online community that exists through her blog and website. She invited followers of her blog to participate. When I logged in a few minutes before the start time, I was surprised to find that there were already nearly 10 people logged in. I learned my first lesson a minute or so later:

Google Hangout Lesson #1 – They are limited to 10 participants and it’s first come, first serve.

Sacha curated the discussion which she began with some rather open ended questions about blogging and what each of us was doing that worked or did not work related to our blogs. There were people with vastly different experience levels on the hangout from those with in depth experience like Sacha to the opposite extreme. One person was not blogging yet but had things written down on paper. It was engaging to hear and see the different experiences people had with this topic.

Google Hangout Lesson #2 – The camera feed switches to the face of the person who is talking. When multiple people are talking or laughing at the same time the camera feed goes a little crazy flipping from person to person, but other than that I liked it.

As I mentioned we quickly had 10 people on the line and more people trying to get in. At one point Sacha shut the hangout down and switched from a Hangout to something called Hangout Air which I did not pick up on what that was. I almost missed out on the rest of the hangout because I had to shut down and click on another link to open it back up and was a little slow to pick up on that. I could have been bumped I suppose but it worked out.

Google Hangout Lesson #3 – Logging in and out of meetings is quick and easy and the platform is very stable.

This tool has features. We started playing around with the Hangout capabilities and learned several things. Off to the left side of the screen there are menu options where you can access Google Drive which is what Google calls their cloud. We were able to create a document and share it on the screen with multiple people adding content simultaneously. That was so cool and unexpected. I know these types of tools exist in other desktop videoconferencing software, but I’ve just not used it. We talked about collaborative blog posts and posting files to Google Drive and sharing them with the people on the Hangout. One of the participants threw their resume on screen. That would be a great use of the tool, real time editing of someones resume. Idea for a collaborative blog post: Things you can use Google Drive to collaborate on during a Hangout.

Google Hangout Lesson #4 – The collaboration tools in Google Hangout work well.

My only problem with this tool is that I don’t have many opportunities to use it right now. Mentally I have set a goal to begin using the tool to connect with people and my confidence was boosted by my experience in my first Hangout.

Want to Google Hangout? Send me the link!!!

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