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By B.L. Ochman


Both types of Google Hangout video conferencing apps – Hangout Video Calls and Hangouts on Air – now have their own stand-alone start pages. The new start pages are a clear indication of two things – that Google wants to increase emphasis on their excellent and multi-featured video conferencing apps and that they still suck at explaining the difference between the two.

Dear Google: How about calling Hangout Video Calls “Google Video Calls” because that is what they are. Then it would be clear that Google Hangouts on Air are NOT Google Video Calls. Just saying….

Hangout Video Call features:

1. Create a video call with anyone who has a webcam or camera on their computer,
2. Or to make a video phone call to them with your Google Voice phone number
3. Have a text chat with them which can include links and images.

You can start a Hangout Video Call from within gMail as well as from the new landing page.

Hangout video calls cannot be recorded, but Hangouts on Air can. Creating one starting page for both types of conferencing would make the differences clear. But Google does not seem to like to make any of its announcements clear. Sigh.


Hangouts on Air features:

Hangouts on Air are a remarkable – no cost – video conferencing/chat that up to 15 people can join and an unlimited number can watch and interact with the live event. The feature is unique to GooglePlus and it quite simply antiquates platforms like GoToMeeting.

Hangouts on Air place an amazing array of tools at your fingertips. With the click of a mouse, you can hold a chat with 10,000 of your closest friends (just like President Obama or NASA), share slides and collaborate on documents with colleagues and clients, broadcast a performance or a concert, conduct on the street interviews, or set up a weekly talk show that you broadcast globally from your living room.

Hangouts can be public or private, free or paid. You can choose to record them, in which case they are automatically added to a connected YouTube channel where they can be edited, branded, time-stamped and search optimized.

David Erickson and I co-host the award-winning weekly Beyond Social Media Show podcast via Hangout.

I’ve produced virtual field trips for school districts, private online arbitration for attorneys, and scores of meetings, demonstrations and webinars using Hangouts.

Ways companies use Hangouts on Air are myriad

Here’s a Hangout I produced with the social media editors of NASA and The NY Times explaining how and why they use Hangouts on Air

Here are 26 examples of companies large and small using Hangouts as their Intranet.

Here are six Great Examples of G+ Business Hangouts on Air: from career counseling to Chinese classes.

Is there a learning curve for Hangouts on Air?

You bet there is! Just like there’s a learning curve for Excel, or Photoshop, or Canva, or gmail, or anything you do that involves varying levels of possibility.

I can teach you all about Hangouts on Air, show you the minimal equipment you need for lighting and sound, and help you get up to speed on one of the most remarkable platforms you’ll find online.

HT to Ronnie Bincer