When Google launched their social network, Google+, people were all excited because it was a real alternative to Facebook. People were even saying that Google+ might be a “Facebook Killer”.
Flash forward to today. Facebook is about to about to go live on the stock market this week and is still one of the most used and growing social media sites. Google+ is still alive and well, but mainly with an active tech focused community.
One of the reasons I think Google+ hasn’t died is because of its interactive feature — Google Hangouts. Put simply, Google Hangouts are video chats with up to 10 people. While participating in a Hangout, people can watch the same YouTube video together and discuss it live. People can share presentations using SlideShare or even share their own computer screens.
Google Hangouts can be a powerful tool for nonprofits in a number of ways.
First of all, meetings can be held from anywhere. If you only need to meet with a few people and everyone’s availability is tight, then a Google Hangout might be a perfect solution for you. As long as each person has a computer with internet access and webcam (all of which are pretty standard when it comes to computers these days), your special event planning meeting can take place within a Google Hangout. It used to be that you had to pay a lot of money to use a video conferencing services, but today all you need is a Google account.
In addition, Google Hangouts can help build a sense of community with staff. If you work at an agency where people work from home or different locations, you can have a Google Hangout water cooler session. People could log in and just chat about the news of the day, or the latest happenings around the office.
Google Hangouts makes team-building in a virtual environment possible. This may seem like a small thing, but as someone who used to work from home, I missed the social interactions that would happen in an office. If I were able to set something like this up, it would have helped me feel more connected to my co-workers.
Finally, and perhaps the most exciting thing about Google Hangouts is that they can now be broadcasted to everyone using Google Hangouts On Air. A few months ago, President Obama participated in a Google On Air Hangout where a few people were live in the Hangout with him, but everyone could watch along via YouTube. This same functionality is now available to everyone.
Using Google Hangouts On Air, you can broadcast your special event to people all over the world. Or if your staff is scattered over a large geographic area and you have an important public announcement to make, why not use a Google Hangout On Air to have a mini staff meeting to share that big news? Are you having a guest speaker at one of your events? You could easily share the speech with people who couldn’t make it.
Oh one more thing, Google Hangouts On Air allows you to record your Hangout, which makes it easy to share with others after it is over.
The roll-out for Google Hangouts On Air will be happening over the next few weeks, so make sure you sign into your Google+ account and check it out. For more information, you can watch this video:
What do you think? Do you think Google Hangouts is a viable solution for your organization when it comes to video conferencing? What are your thoughts about the usability of Google Hangouts On Air? Let’s discuss it using the comment section below!