Google continues to introduce changes and enhancements to the Google+ social network that might make it a more attractive platform for business use. The Hangouts feature has been updated and expanded, and the Huddles feature of the Google+ mobile app has been improved. With some of these updates, businesses can use the Google+ social network for video conferencing, online presentations, and general collaboration.
The new Hangouts On Air feature lets you use Google+ to broadcast online webcasts. Here are four ways agencies should be using Hangouts and Messenger:
1. Simple video conferencing—You don’t have to be in the same room, or even in the same city, to work together. If your agency, or at least your team, is all on Google+, you can use a Google+ Hangout for impromptu video conferencing. You can make it even simpler by creating a Circle comprised of the agency team so you can just invite that Circle to the Hangout.
2. Collaboration on the go—One of the changes that Google has introduced for Hangouts is that you can now participate in Hangouts from your smartphone. The mobile Hangouts feature is available for Android now, with an update coming soon for the iOS Google+ app. Participating in Hangouts requires a smartphone with a front-facing camera, but with this change it is even easier for people to jump onto a quick video conference session no matter where they are.
3. Webcast platform—Hangouts On Air turns the Hangouts feature into a tool for broadcasting online to the general public. The Hangout can still only have a total of 10 engaged participants, but with Hangouts On Air, an unlimited number of users can view the session. You can also record the Hangout so those who can’t attend live might still be able to benefit from it.
Google is also working on Hangouts On Air with Extras, which adds Screensharing, Sketchpad, Google Docs, and more for real-time online collaboration. This feature can be useful for presentations to the whole agency, or for conducting webinars for prospects or customers.
4. Messenger (Huddles) with pics—Google has renamed the Huddles feature of the Google+ mobile app to “Messenger” and added the ability to share photos as well. The group chat capabilities of Huddles (Messenger) are a great tool for businesses to collaborate and work together as a team any time.
Free tools like these make Google+ an attractive platform for agencies.