What is a Google Hangout?
A Google hangout is like a video chat room. Up to 10 people can be connected in the same ‘room’ via their webcams.
How do I join?
You will need to be invited by the person setting up the hangout. Make sure you contact them in advance, and send them your Gmail address or G+ account name. Log into your Gmail account.
What happens then?
You will receive an invitation like this below. Click on the “View Conversation” button, and you’ll be taken into the hangout via a browser window.
Will I be on air straight away?
It depends on whether the hangout has already started. Most of mine start at 7pm UK time, and I send the invites out 5-10 minutes in advance of that. I you arrive in the hangout before it goes on air, you’ll be able to chat to the other guests, and I’ll let you know when we go on air.
Can anybody watch it?
Yes, if they have the link to the hangout. I’ll generally set it up some time in advance, and share the link. They can watch live, or about 10 minutes after the hangout finishes, it’ll be available to watch via the same link on YouTube.
Any tips for when I’m ‘Hanging Out’?
* Try to make sure that no one else is on your internet connection at the same time as you. Live streaming video takes up a lot of the bandwidth (speed), so other people using that same connection will mess up your video and / or audio.
* If you’re not speaking but you may make some noise (coughing / sneezing / making drinks) it might be best to mute your microphone for a while. The Hangout switches the point of view on the screen to the person speaking (or making a noise) which can be distracting if you’re watching someone else). The mute button appears in front of your screen if you wobble the mouse cursor over it.
* Similarly, if there’s something you want to show on camera, you need to be making a noise (i.e. speaking) for the hangout to switch to your camera.
* Video compression for internet works by analysing the picture. If you make too much movement while you’re speaking, the quality of the video drops sharply. If you try and keep still, the quality of picture improves.