Google+ introduced Events – which work well for inviting people to a get-together at a physical location – about two months ago. Now, Social Media Examiner reports, Google+ is moving in front of Facebook by combining Events with its Hangouts service (which enables live, multi-person video chats).
What’s great about Hangouts is that they’re location-agnostic. The RingCentral social media team uses Hangouts for our weekly meetings; members of our team are in California, Colorado, Ontario and the Philippines, so Hangouts make it easy for us to connect.
If there’s a downside to Hangouts, it’s that they work better for private chats than public ones (Hangouts are limited to 10 participants). But Google+’s new Events-Hangouts integration brings the benefits of Hangouts to a public audience – so an event like a webinar or a product walkthrough can easily be shared with one’s Google+ followers.
We at RingCentral, for example, can schedule a webinar using Events, set it up using Hangouts (a public Hangout is known as a Hangout on Air), and paste the Hangout URL back into the Event invite when the Hangout is about to begin. That way, an unlimited number of people can watch our Hangout (which might involve one of us interviewing a speaker like Tina Seelig) through either our Google+ page or our YouTube channel (Click the links to follow us on Google+ and YouTube).
One can even watch Hangouts on Air from mobile devices – something that isn’t possible with WebEx.
While Hangouts on Air don’t provide the same screen-sharing options that WebEx does, a Hangout would be ideal if we were having a conversation with a topic expert or explaining our products’ features. Plus, it would be great to be able to promote our events through Google+: we’d get a bigger promotional boost, while attendees could easily add the events to their Google calendars.
Social Media Examiner offers a solid walkthrough of the Hangouts-Events setup process, so if you’re looking for more detail, I recommend navigating to their site. We’re excited about Hangouts’ potential to connect far-flung friends, family members or colleagues – and we think the new Events integration will help us stay in touch with RingCentral enthusiasts like you.
So we’d like to ask: What would you like to see us do with Hangouts? Are there RingCentral features you’d like to learn more about? Do you want to hear from our executive team? Let us know below – we are listening!