Google-PlusOne of the most exciting features introduced in Google+ is the concept of Hangouts. Hangouts are video chat rooms that allow users to join up, chat and watch as conversations come alive. There are two types of Google+ Hangouts: Hangouts and Hangouts With Extras. Hangouts With Extras allow you to share documents, files and even your computer screen with others involved in the room.

Hangouts allow you to just video chat with one another. You can invite your Circles to chat with you and even join public Hangouts to start-up discussions and meet new people on Google+. Google+’s Hangouts With Extras allow you to even host conference calls now. We will go over how to get started with Google+ Hangouts and Hangouts With Extras, including how to start your own conference call.

How to get started with Google+ Hangouts

The quickest way to get started with Google+ Hangouts is to create one yourself and invite your Circles or the public to join you. Click on “Start a hangout” on the right side of your Google+ profile page.

Start a Hangout

Google+ will prompt you to check your video and microphone as well as invite people to join your Hangout. When you are ready, click “Hangout.”

Fix your hair and makeup

At the bottom of the screen, you will see a toolbar where you will control all the functions of our Hangout.

Toolbar

Toolbar

Click “Invite.”

Invite

You can add Circles, individual users and then click “Invite” again to send them an invite to join your Hangout.

Click “Chat.”

Chat

Here, you can chat directly with those in your Hangout as opposed to talking over one another. This is also a great feature for those who may not have a mic or web camera for their computer. Everyone can have an opportunity to keep up with the chat window.

Click “YouTube.” on the Hangout toolbar.

YouTube

This brings up YouTube in the Hangout so you can show those joining you videos, watch together and then discuss what you have seen. Simply click “Push to Talk” during video playback to talk over the video.

Moustache allows you to add a moustache to your video while in the Hangout. It is a funny feature of Hangouts.

Mute Video and Mute Mic allow you to mute either function during a Hangout. Just remember to unmute them before you begin chatting otherwise nobody will be able to hear or see you.

Click “Settings.”

Settings

This will bring up all the settings for your Hangout, such as setting up the mic and video settings, picking which device to use and other technical settings. Remember to click “Save” before continuing.

These are all the basic functions to get started with Hangouts on Google+.

How to start a conference call in Hangouts With Extras

If you are looking to use Hangouts for conference calling, you want to take advantage of Hangouts With Extras. You can create a Hangout With Extras by creating a regular Hangout and clicking “Hangouts with extras.”

Start a Hangout With Extras

You can choose which Circles and people to include, check your mic and video and then click “Hangout” to create your room.

On the left-hand side of your screen, you will find the ability to upload documents, use a sketchpad and make notes.

Notes, sketchpad and documents

You can also choose to be on or off the record. Off the record ensures the chat is not being recorded, whereas being on the record allows it to be documented for future reference.

Click “Share screen.”

Share screen

This feature in Hangouts With Extras allows you to share what you are seeing and doing on your computer screen. If you are hosting an event in a Hangout, this is the perfect way to walk through steps on a computer for all to see, follow along and learn.

Now, click on “Invite.”

This is how we begin setting up a conference call on Google+ through Hangouts With Extras.

You can invite anyone to a Hangout either by chat on the site itself, through e-mail or by calling a phone number. In order to create a conference call, click “Phone.”

(13) invite others

Now, you can enter the phone number you wish to join in. Enter it, then click “Call now.”

Above your picture as host of the Hangout, you will see it begin dialing out.

Calling a person through Hangout

Once connected, you will see the phone number in the Group Chat window as well as above your picture as host.

Phone number joining Hangout

If the person you called leaves the Hangout, you will be alerted to it.

By utilizing this conference calling nature of Hangouts With Extras, you can invite anyone with a phone or computer to join up, chat, discuss and plan for whatever reasons necessary. Utilizing Hangouts With Extras, conference calling and everything Google+ has to offer with video chat is a unique way to stay connected, hold meetings and keep in the loop with everything going on.

How do Hangouts make Google+ different?

The way we use the Internet and social networking is changing. By introducing a state of the art video and conferencing system in Hangouts on Google+, Google is offering its social network users the chance to connect in ways no other social network even comes close to being able to offer. Hangouts and Hangouts With Extras are an exciting way to have engaging conversations online with family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers.

Hangouts offer you a chance for face-to-face interaction that you often only get in person, now you can venture onto Google+ and have the same type of conversations, meetings and more that you would in real life.

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