The name Google Hangout by it's self sounds lighthearted and fun – it can be – but it’s also a very powerful and free web conference tool that is robust and secure enough for small and medium businesses.
Did I mention it was free? Yes, normally you will find that my blogs (and general business beliefs) revolve around the theory that you get what you pay for – mostly true. Google, however has been offering amazing and free products like Gmail, Google Drive, Google Maps, etc. for many years now and Google Hangout is just as reliable and feature rich. I just setup my first multi-location meeting to test and everyone involved gave it two thumbs up.
cat.man.du holds weekly conference meetings where each of our three locations call in using our VOIP conferencing system as well as a secure VNC connection for screen sharing. The meeting normally goes without much in the way of technical glitches – but we’ve had our share of problems in the past. There are some features that we don't have and the worst - we never get to see each other – no webcam capabilities. Another thing we miss out on is rich media such as video and sound. In our meeting today, I asked each location to join a Hangout to see how it would work. My team and I were very impressed and we had so many wonderful features at our fingertips.
Here is what you can do using Google Hangouts:
- Rich media sharing – Found an amazing speaker on YouTube that you want your team to watch? Yeah, it’s got that.
- Screen sharing – Share exactly what you’re pulling up on the web, a spreadsheet, or a PDF.
- Google Drive Collaboration – Right there, together as a team, you can work on documents, spreadsheets and presentations.
- Add apps – There are several powerful apps for Google Hangout that you can add on. Share a whiteboard, draw a diagram or even explore Google Earth together.
- Wear a pirate hat – OK, maybe not in your business culture but adding a few visual effects and sound effects gave our meeting today a little cat.man.du spice.
Easy to use, powerful, reliable and did I mention its free – Google Hangout.