• Google Hangouts On Air – 3 ways on how to invite people

    I get this question a lot about how to invite other people to be on a Google Hangouts On Air call; I thought I’d share with you how I go about doing this on my YouTube channel WPwatercooler. As you may or may not know Google Hangouts is a way to get up to 10 people on a video call and interact with one another. Google Hangouts On Air is a way for you to stream the conversation you are having on YouTube for others to see.

    As I have shared with you in a previous article there are ways to Create Google Hangouts quickly with these easy URLs that will help you with creating a Google Hangout or a Google Hangouts On Air, check the link on how to make that happen.

    Once you have a Google Hangout On Air started you can invite people. There are three ways to do this that I know of. Email based Google Hangout On Air invites and Link-based Google Hangout On Air invites

    1) Email based Google Hangout On Air invites

    One is to input the participants email addresses into the box provided when you start the hangout and it will notify them of the link needed to join the call.

    Google_Hangouts-invite-url

    Depending on if you are in a Google Apps organization if your organization allows for Google Hangouts to occur inside or outside the organization you’ll be able to invite people via email to join the call. The participant you email will receive an email from google indicating that they should click a link to join the call.

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    2) Link-based Google Hangout On Air invites

    If the call ahs already started and you want to add more people you can do so by clicking the chain link icon on the right side of the screen. You’ll be greeted with a link to send to people or a way to email them the link.

    Google_Hangouts-link

    If all else fails…

    Google tends to change things at a moments notice. If you end up having a resort to a different method of sending the link to someone you can try sending the URL of the page you are on.

    Google_Hangouts-url

    You’ll notice that the urls are a bit different one with the hangouts// and the other with /call/ depending on how the wind is blowing over at Google these urls may make a difference. Replacing /hangouts// with /call/ may be your best bet to getting a URL that will work for your call participants.

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    3) Scheduling a call using Google+

    On WPwatercooler I use Google+ to schedule my calls ahead of time. This allows me to have a YouTube url for me to share with others and make it easy for me to set up all of the settings on YouTube way before the call starts.

    Google doesn’t make this very easy but as a Google+ Business Page I do the following:

    Click on the avatar on the upper right side of the site and select Google+ page from the drop down menu

    WPwatercooler_-_Google_

    On the left side of the page click on Google+ Page drop down menu then select Google Hangouts

    WPwatercooler_-_Google_-Hangouts

    You’ll be greeted with this page, click Hangouts On Air

    Note: Be sure to bookmark this page for quicker access.

    You’ll end up on this page, from there click on Create a Hangout On Air button.

    Google-hangout-on-air

    A modal box will appear asking you to specify the name, info about it and what time it will start. The audience is not the people participating but rather a way for Google+ to help you promote your Google Hangouts On Air session.

    Google-hangouts-on-air-setup

    You’ll end up with a screen that looks like this

    Test_Session_-_Google_

    You can edit the event, add a trailer to the event, collect the public links to the event and invite more viewers. I’ll discuss this in a later article but for now, click Start when your event is going to go live and follow the instructions above on how to invite people to be on your Google Hangout On Air event.

     

  • Hanging out with Google

    My favorite part of Google+ is Google Hangout, and I think after you finish reading this post you too will enjoy using it and finding new ways to add it to your workflow. Google+, sometimes read as Google Plus, is a social network that has many facets, but the one that sticks out the most is Hangout which allows you to have a video conference with 9 friends or colleagues.

    Video conferencing with 9 of your buddies

    If you and your friends or colleagues use Google+, you can simply add them to the hangout from the initial dialog box once you start a Hangout session. They will be notified via Google+ and will be given a link to click to join the session already in progress. Once they agree to join the hangout they are added to the conference and can begin to interacting with other participants. One thing I learned about Google Hangout is if you haven’t “circled” someone you want to add to the hangout, you can copy the URL of the hangout and share it with the person you want to invite. I typically do this when I want to use the feature rich interface of Google Hangout with someone I’m chatting with on Facebook or AIM. You can also use this method to add people to an already existing hangout.

    ON AIR

    Google Hangout On Air is the next step in all of this. If you have a YouTube account, and it’s the same account you are using with Google+, you can start a Hangout “On Air” which will stream your session to your YouTube account. It also will share the session with others on Google+ so they can watch it live. When you invite people to the Google Hangout, the new participant is asked if they want to agree to having the session recorded. Unless they agree to this, they can’t join the session. Once all of your participants are on the hangout and you are ready to record you press the red Start Broadcast button, a countdown begins. As soon as the countdown hits zero, everything that happens in the session will be streamed directly to YouTube. At the top of the Google Hangout interface is an embed button that displays 2 things. One is the embed code for the YouTube stream, and the other is the direct URL to watch the stream live from YouTube. This URL or Embed can be used on your website or posted on a social network for other to watch but to not be able to participate.

    Below is one of our WPwatercooler hangouts we do each week streamed live on YouTube.

    [fve]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLYntMbLZdg[/fve]

    Controlling the camera

    Out of the box, Google Hangout comes with some great features. One of them enables you to control the “camera” during an on air session. When no one is selected during the conference, the camera will select the person that is currently speaking. Some times you want to focus on just one person so you can click on the video thumbnail of them at the bottom of the screen to override the auto selection. I use this during intros and outros during my WPwatercooler recordings.

    Google Hangout Apps

    The apps of Google Hangout are pretty amazing. There are many 3rd party apps that allow you to interact with your participants. There are games for play, collaborative environments for work or you can even watch YouTube videos which is the best way to showcase your first funny cat video you recently uploaded.

    Hangout Toolbox

    This nifty Toolbox app gives you a few special features all in one app. The main feature I use it for is being able to have a lower third (like they do on news programs) that would have my name, company name and a few urls or my twitter account. This is great for the viewers to be able to identify you and get in contact with you later after the show. Toolbox also has sound effects and face detecting heads that follow your face around wherever it moves. It also has a clock feature that is quite handy.

    Cameraman

    Cameraman is a new app added to Google Hangout recently that gives you more granular control over a hangout session. You can hide participants and mute them. You can also make it so if someone new joins the session they will be hidden until you choose to have them displayed. This is great if you are doing a long broadcast and want multiple guests participating, but have them in queue and brought in one at a time over time.

    I just touched the surface of Google Hangout. In a future post, I’ll go over some of the scheduling features with Google+ that you can use with your hangouts and other great features I use every week on WPwatercooler.

    Let me know how you use Google Hangout in the comments below.