Skype connectivity sometimes drops calls. It is also challenging to schedule with multiple people. We already use Google Apps so it made sense since it would integrate with our other systems so easily.
We having using Google Hangouts and have been very pleased with the results so far.
The setup is more involved than using Skype so I am going to detail the steps involved.
3 Things have to be done in order to use a Hangout.
You first must be a member of Google+. If you are doing this for your @pivotallabs.com Google identity make sure you are signing up with your corporate email address and not your personal Google account. Join at plus.google.com.
Start a Hangout
- Go to plus.google.com/hangouts and click the Start a Hangout button on the top right side of your screen.
- Click the Hangouts icon underneath an interesting post on your Home page to start a hangout about the post.
- Click the Hangouts icon on the left side of the page and click Start a hangout under the ‘HANGOUT INVITE’ section.
- You can also start a hangout and send and receive hangout invites from other Google properties including:
Google Chat properties (ie. Gmail, Google+, iGoogle, orkut) Learn more.
- Google Calendar Learn more.
Neat things you can do with a Hangout
Schedule a recurring meeting with the same Hangout address
This is very handy for a meeting which happens repeatedly so that you always have the same URL to join, like a standup meeting. This was first found by Joe Moore from Pivotal on this blog entry by David Cummings
The steps are as follows:
- Create a new event on Google+ Events.
- Give the event a date far into the future, like the year 2020
- Go to Event options -> Advanced and click on Google+ Hangout
- Save the event
- Share the link to the Google+ Hangout on your repeating Google Calendar event
Get a better quality output if you are doing a live music Hangout using Studio Mode.
Create a Hangout very quickly by using the chat window when signed into your Google email and clicking on the Hangout icon or create an event on your Google calendar and add a Hangout to the event.
We also found that upgrading the webcam you are using can help to improve your experience. We have upgraded to the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910. This version is Mac compatible, the newer model which is the C920 is not. The 910 provides improved optics with a better lens and an improved depth of field. This version is also easily portable if you have a laptop.
We only expect the Google Hangout to get better as Google keeps working to improve it. So far it has been a big improvement over Skype.