One of many conveniences of recent know-how is staying related to mates and family members who’re hundreds of miles away. Whereas a easy video chat makes this connection doable, there could also be extra you’re lacking out on should you use Google Hangouts.

Having used Google Hangouts for each work and play, we’ve curated our favourite ideas and methods that assist customers get essentially the most out of this free platform, together with optimizing name high quality even when you have decrease bandwidth.

The way to use Google Hangouts on each gadget

Google Hangouts Chrome extension
The Chrome extension for Google Hangouts.

One of many key benefits about Google Hangouts is that it’s accessible on all kinds of platforms, making it straightforward to work remotely. Whether or not you’re in your lounge in entrance of a laptop computer or attempting to exhibit what’s taking place within the subject out of your telephone, Google possible can have an app that has you lined.

Desktops and laptops: Google Hangouts will be accessed as a Chrome extension, giving PC and Mac customers a straightforward approach to entry the service. Should you’d relatively not use Google’s browser, you too can kind in hangouts.google.com on Apple Safari, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox,or Opera to entry the service.

Smartphones and tablets: Hangouts comes as a local app for iOS and Android customers, making it straightforward to remain in contact. You should definitely obtain the mandatory apps or extensions on all of your units so that you’ll have fast entry to Hangouts if you want it. Hangouts can be constructed into Gmail, so when you log into Gmail on an internet browser, you need to see a pane inside the net interface exhibiting you your Hangouts chat threads.

Professional tip:  Hangouts will proceed to run within the background when it’s put in as a Chrome extension. Closing the Chrome window is not going to kill Hangouts, which is a part of Google’s design to permit the extension to inform you when you’ve got a brand new chat message or a videoconferencing request. Should you’re utilizing Hangouts within the browser, you’ll want to go surfing each time you begin your PC or Mac and preserve the browser window operating within the background, so that you received’t miss any necessary conversations.

The way to share your display screen in Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts Screen Sharing options
Display screen-sharing choices on Google Hangouts

On condition that Google Hangouts is designed for the common individual, many of the instruments accessible are pretty easy. However simply because Hangouts doesn’t include fancy enterprise bells and whistles doesn’t imply that you could’t perform a sophisticated presentation. Whether or not you’re presenting a faculty report or giving your staff a monetary replace, you should utilize the screen-sharing characteristic of Hangouts to point out your individuals a knockout slide deck on Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Slides.

Step 1: You should definitely load up your presentation earlier than you start the video chat or the screen-sharing course of. Hold the applying — whether or not it’s Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Slides operating in a brand new Chrome browser window, or a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet — minimized and operating within the background.

Step 2: Begin Google Hangouts by means of the browser or Chrome extension. When you’re in your video name, to start sharing your display screen, you’ll wish to hover over the browser window on your videoconference.

Step 3: A menu bar on the prime will seem, providing you with choices so as to add folks, change settings, or entry extra options. You’ll wish to click on on the final one, which is designated by the hamburger menu — the three vertically stacked dots — on the upper-right-hand aspect of the window.

Step 4: Click on on Display screen Share, and a pop-up will ask if you wish to share your complete display screen or only a single software window. Should you’re speaking to a buddy who’s a tech knowledgeable and wish their assist diagnosing what’s taking place in your PC, you’ll wish to select Your Whole Display screen, however should you’re doing a presentation, you’ll wish to select the Software Window tab.

Step 5: Should you’re sharing simply an software window, after you click on on the Software Window tab, you’ll be offered with a grid of opened apps which can be operating in your PC in the mean time. Click on on the app you wish to display screen share, after which click on on the Share button to start sharing. Please word that since this feature chooses from apps already operating, which means that you’ll wish to fireplace up a brand new browser window with Google Slides loaded or have Microsoft PowerPoint operating earlier than you provoke display screen sharing.

Professional tip: Alerts and notifications out of your PC may very well be distracting if you’re giving a presentation. You should definitely allow Focus Help mode on Home windows 10 or activate Do Not Disturb on Mac to silence any notifications or chimes throughout your videoconferencing session for a extra polished presentation.

The way to add attendees to your assembly

Google Hangouts add more participants
Add extra individuals to your video name

Your videoconferencing and chat periods aren’t restricted to only one different particular person. You possibly can chat concurrently with a number of individuals or teams in Hangouts, and you may provoke a videoconferencing session with as much as 25 individuals. In case your college, enterprise, or group subscribes to a Google enterprise account, referred to as G Suite, you may have as much as 250 individuals and 100,000 livestream viewers on a single name.

Step 1: Launch Google Hangouts within the browser or by means of the Chrome extension. You’ll be offered with the Hangouts dwelling display screen. Click on on the Video Name button within the heart of the browser.

Step 2: On the subsequent display screen, you can begin typing the e-mail or identify of the participant you want to add. Should you kind a reputation, their contact particulars should already be saved to your Google Contacts. Hit enter after every participant you wish to add, after which kind within the subsequent identify or electronic mail handle so as to add extra.

Step 3: When you’re accomplished along with your invite listing, you may click on on the inexperienced Invite button to ask all individuals to the decision. Understand that you can not preschedule calls on basic Hangouts, as this characteristic is reserved for the paid Hangouts Meet model for enterprise prospects.

As a substitute of typing in everybody’s names right here, you too can click on the Copy Hyperlink to Share button. It will routinely copy the net URL the place the decision will occur. With the URL copied, you may paste it into your present workflow to inform your assembly individuals by way of textual content message, by means of a Slack message, or by electronic mail.

Should you missed a participant, you too can add further attendees to your assembly when the decision is in progress.

Step 1: Whenever you’re on a name, hover your mouse over the video name window to tug up the menu for name controls.

Step 2: Click on on the Add Participant choice on the upper-right-hand aspect of the window from the menu for name controls.

Step 3: Kind within the names and electronic mail addresses of any further attendees you’d like to ask. Should you’re on a cell gadget, faucet anyplace on the decision display screen in your telephone to deliver up the decision controls. Click on on the hamburger menu on the upper-right-hand aspect of the display screen and choose Invite. You’ll be capable to kind within the identify and electronic mail addresses of anybody you had missed.

Google Hangouts Meet customers with G Suite accounts can have extra superior choices, together with the power to schedule calls prematurely and entry a dial-in quantity to supply to those that wish to be a part of by way of telephone name as a substitute of video on the internet.

Professional tip: Should you’re utilizing a piece, college, or enterprise electronic mail handle related to G Suite, you’ll have further options tied to your account that aren’t accessible to the free client model of Hangouts. Hangouts Meet, which is the videoconferencing platform for G Suite customers, additionally provides entry to reside captioning, which is like closed captioning on your assembly, and the power to record the call. The previous is a helpful accessibility characteristic, whereas the latter may very well be necessary if you wish to reference one thing that was stated in the course of the assembly at a later time.

The way to get one of the best name high quality on your bandwidth

Google Hangouts video settings
Select SD video high quality to avoid wasting bandwidth

Hangouts could not include filters or fancy backgrounds to assist shine a highlight on you, however you may nonetheless look and sound your finest when on an necessary video name. Keep in mind that utilizing video consumes extra bandwidth than chatting over textual content, so when you have a slower web connection, you’ll wish to decrease a few of the settings to preserve priceless bandwidth.

Step 1: Hover over your name window till the decision controls begin to seem on the highest.

Step 2: Click on on the cog icon, or the Settings choice.

Step 3: A pop-up will seem. On the prime, click on on the Bandwidth tab.

Step 4: Relying in your digicam and web settings, you’ll wish to select a decrease decision for each outgoing video — which is the video feed of your self that Hangouts is capturing — and incoming video — or the video feed of different individuals in a name. Deciding on the next bandwidth, like selecting HD high quality as a substitute of ordinary definition (SD) high quality, will lead to a clearer image, however when you have a slower connection, you might get dropped frames, stuttering video, and even uneven audio.

Though selecting a decrease video decision could make your feed seem extra pixelated, it might assist keep smoother audio. This manner, when you have a foul or sluggish connection, your videoconference attendees will nonetheless be capable to hear you, even when your video feed is a bit grainy.

The way to use emojis to reinforce your chats

Hangouts emoji shortcuts
Some hidden emoji in Hangouts; credit score: Shortcutworld.com

There are additionally some secret emojis to make use of in Hangouts, that can add some whimsy to your chats. For instance, typing in /bikeshed will change the background coloration of your chat window, and you may proceed to kind that command in to rotate between Google’s predefined colours at any time within the chat. Listed below are some further instructions you should utilize.

Blissful: Kind /completely happy to point out a cheerful face.

Shrug: Kind /shruggie to point out a shrug emoji.

Desk flip: Should you’re stuffed with anger, kind /tableflip to point out your rage.

Facepalm: Should you’re in disbelief, kind /facepalm within the chat.

Success: To have fun your staff’s victories, kind /success to exhibit your assist and encouragement.

Should you want extra emoji for hangouts, you’ll want to go to Shortcut World.

The way to put your finest face ahead

In terms of utilizing Google Hangouts, you need to all the time observe video conferencing finest practices. Fundamental etiquette entails making certain that your room appears tidy — particularly the house behind you — as that’s what callers will be capable to see on the video. Different fundamentals embody muting your microphone should you’re not actively speaking. Muting your mic helps reduce static and echo for different individuals. Turning off the digicam if you need some privateness or don’t really feel comfy showing on video can be acceptable.

For the occasions you select to look on digicam, you’ll wish to make use of some fundamental lighting ideas. For instance, having a light-weight behind you can also make you troublesome to see, and lead to some annoying glare on your viewers. For one of the best outcomes, place your mild supply in entrance of you.

A fantastic choice is to conduct your name going through a brilliant window to attain a pure mild. Within the darker winter months, a USB ring mild is usually a nice resolution, though a desk lamp will do in a pinch. Simply watch out you don’t overdo it.

Additionally, you’ll want to take note of digicam angles earlier than your name. To look your finest, you’ll wish to use a top-mounted webcam. These are normal on most laptops and smartphones, and encourage customers to look straight of their route throughout conferences.

Sadly, some units could make you appear lower than attentive. The side-mounted FaceID digicam on an iPad Professional, for instance, is nice at delivering good-quality video captures. However it may well additionally make it appear to be you’re distractedly wanting away to the aspect, relatively than being attentive to the decision.

Even worse, bottom-mounted cameras on some older Dell XPS 13 and Huawei MateBook X Professional laptops ship an unflattering up-the-nose shot. Don’t fear, although; you don’t need to cope with the “double chin” look.

You possibly can work round these unflattering angles utilizing a bit ingenuity. Think about lifting your pocket book up by putting one thing beneath it. You may purchase a stand or make your individual with a couple of books. By altering the peak and angle of the lens in relation to your face, you may get an optimum video, no matter your gadget.

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