There are few people who have used Google’s communication tool, Hangouts who are not immediately seduced by its ease of use and intuitive interface. But the problem is that there are few people who’ve actually used Google Hangouts – at least when compared to the other platforms out there such as Skype, G-chat, WhatsApp, and more recently Slack.
Of course, in these days of smartphones and cloud computing, few business people are strangers to the concept of video calls and instant messaging in general. The rise of the cloud and the proliferation of smartphones has made such things commonplace after all. And most businesses use video and audio conferencing to some extent, even if it’s just a FaceTime conversation with a client. But Google Hangouts was only offered to enterprise users in July 2014, and though growing massively in popularity, is not quite yet seen as one of the big players when it comes to online communication.
So if you are a Google Hangouts convert, you’ve probably had occasions when you’ve been frustrated that you can’t use it to converse and communicate with people who have yet to become Hangout devotees. And if you’re a small business owner, who is using the app for important communication and contact with clients and potential customers, this could even be losing you trade.
Well now it seems, Google has recognised your problem and come up with a solution that ensures everyone can participate in a Hangout. Late last year, a new feature made it possible to have Hangout meetings with individuals and groups even if they don’t have a Google account themselves.
These external guests can be invited to take part in calls and conferences via the Google Calendar (which can be accessed across multiple platforms). All they need do is to click on the invitation and then enter their name or moniker (as set by the meeting organiser) when asked. If they are not invited but have the meeting link, they can request access and the organiser can let them in. After this they can chat away merrily, with no need to create any new accounts in Gmail or Google+. Provided they have webcams and microphones set up, you can enjoy face-to-face conversations with them in the same way you can using Hangouts with Google buddies.
So it really doesn’t matter what platform or web-browser your Hangout “guests” are using, they should still be able to chat with you and send messages, while you retain control as the organiser of a virtual meeting.
Google has always had its detractors of course, but there’s little doubt that the company has always wanted to make communication easier, and that’s what this new(ish) Hangout modification is for. It is of course, Google’s way of rolling out Hangouts as the place to…well…hang out. But there’s no denying it’s a wonderful tool in the way it breaks down barriers between platforms. And unlike FaceTime for example, it’s doesn’t require you to own an Apple Device.
Since its launch, Hangouts has become a vital communication tool for our team, allowing organisations to enjoy face-to-face communication or texting as and when it’s needed. This new feature allows users to reach out to people who are not regular Hangouts, or even Google Apps users. There’s no denying that it can boost any business in which communication is vital – it gives you a direct line to anyone who is able to get online.
Want to know more about Hangouts or any aspect of Google Apps? Drop a line to the Damson Cloud team – we’re always ready to communicate.