When you have friends and family aborad it is always good to find free ways to contact them. Skype is a very popular VOIP (Voice over Interactive Protocol) that allows you to call and video conference friends abroad for free. However, Google Hangouts are, in my opinion, much better than skype. In this blog, I am going to explain why google hangouts are so great for contacting people abroad.
What is a Google Hangout?
A ‘google hangout’ is the Google Plus video conferencing feature. Google hangouts are free and easy to use. They will also work on your tablet or mobile phone. Google Hangouts can involve more than two people. Away from the family at Christmas? Join them for a post Christmas dinner drink!
Google Plus itself is a social network that will allow you to share information and keep in contact with friends and family. It will allow you to share photos, updates and videos with your friends and family abroad.
How do I get a Google Plus Account?
To be able to do a Google hangouts, you need to set up a Google account. You may already have one set up – you can also sign in through Gmail, YouTube or Android.
When setting up your Google Account, enter your profile details, and select your settings. This will then take you through to set up your Google Plus Bio, so enter your details. If you are concerned about privacy, you can adjust your privacy settings.
If you are logging in through gmail, you will see your Google Plus Profile in the top right of your screen when you are in your gmail inbox. Simply click on the image of you, or the icon, and you will go straight to your Google Plus profile page.
How do you start a Google Hangout?
Firstly, make sure that the person who you want to hangout with is also registered on Google Plus and is online at the same time as you (remember the time differences!). You can add people to your circles and they become contacts. Google Plus circles are great way to organise your contacts. For example, you might have a circle for ‘work’, a circle for ‘friends’ and a circle for ‘family’.
Once you are logged in to your Google Plus account, there will be a button in the top right corner that says ‘start a Hangout’, which you need to click. Name the hangout and invite the person that you want to connect with. When they join the hangout, you will hear the signal and they will appear on your screen.
What are the Advantages and Features of Google Hangouts?
The sound quality is often much better in google hangouts than on skype. In my experience, you hear less feedback and it doesn’t cut you off like skype sometimes can.
Google hangouts are better than skype because you can use the screenshare facility for free. Screensharing is great if you want to share things with your friends and family abroad. Skype have recently started to ask you to upgrade, and charge for this facility.
Google hangouts have a YouTube sharing facility too, so that you can watch YouTube clips together with your friends and family abroad. The Google hangout facility allows you to create a playlist.
My favourite thing about Google hangouts is the special effects. There are sound effects and headgear to make your video call even more exciting! Give your friend a round of applause for saying something great. Give your dad a birthday cake, whilst wearing a pirates hat or say hello to your sister with a dog face!
For times when you don’t have internet access, you can always use Pocketdial UK to make cheap international calls.