One of the key features of using Google Plus is the Google Hangout. Not to be confused with Google Chat – or GChat – Google Hangouts are Skype-like video and audio conference calls among Google Plus users.

Because Google Hangouts involve live video and chatting, many users hesitate ever trying to hangout because they aren’t sure how it works. Here’s a list of tips on using Google Hangouts and Chats.

Starting your own Google Hangout

1. Visit your Google Plus stream, and click on the Start a Hangout button along the right sidebar.

start-google-hangout

2. From there, a new window opens asking you who you want to invite to hangout. You can invite people by name or select from the avatars shown.

invite-google-plus-users-to-hangout

google-plus-users

3. You’ll notice your own video window centered at the bottom of the hangout screen. Also, you can turn the video option on and off, and mute yourself with the buttons at the top right corner of the screen

google-plus-hangout-volume-video

Not interested in starting your own hangout, but want to join one already in progress? You can also search through existing hangouts from the Hangouts icon in the left sidebar.

google-hangouts-in-progress

Once you are hanging out…

Check out the available tools in your nav bar. You have the option of a chat window, to invite others, access the available Google Plus apps and share your screen for meetings.

Google-hangout-toolbar

To access the available apps, click the Apps button. The list of apps include Google Docs, SlideShare and YouTube.

google-plus-hangout-apps

After clicking the Screen Share button, you can select the window from which you want to present.

google-plus-hangout-screenshare

Don’t want to hangout, but only chat?

Just like with Google Chats in Gmail, you can have a one-on-one chat with another Google user you are connected to via Google Plus. Those with green next to them are currently available to chat.

google-plus-chat

Want to use Google Plus without being available?

Select a different status to display.

Google-chat-status

One note to mention: I have noticed that if I am chatting through Gmail and click over to Google Plus in a different tab, the same chat will reappear in the new tab. So if you are both a Gmail and Google Plus user, you will see that carry-over.

Google Hangouts provide one more opportunity to connect and engage with others for reasons of both work and play.

About LizJostes (287 Posts)

Liz is a 30-something marketer, social media consultant, speaker and mom. Originally from Chicago and currently living in the land of Dixie, she relishes in the flavor of fried pickles and BBQ, but longs for deep dish and a proper Chicago dog.


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