Love this creative and simple explanation of Google Hangouts and Google On Air from my friend Jay Cross. Jay hosts some great hangouts on some fantastic topics.
If you are new to Google hangouts. I suggest you try it for fun with friends, family or whom ever will pickup your call. 🙂 Pick someone to hangout with that you can just relax and try things no pressure. Test audio levels and position of the camera. My advice to someone on adapting new technology is to just dive into it with no fear and low expectations. After a few hangouts and some digging through the menu options you got it.
I don’t see hangouts as a replacement for the more robust tools like GoTomeeting or Adobe Connect. I do think it is a great tool for small group conversations, panel discussions or project meetings. It also is an excellent tool for public facing conversations. With the On Air features and the ability to record your Hangout and post it directly to YouTube it becomes a very powerful tool for free or low cost. We have started using hangouts for some of our ASTD Puget Sound interest group meetings they are the perfect use for a tool like this. It’s free and that is good. Where the tool falls short we can outside tools can be used along with it.
The Google help pages are pretty good and will walk you through the steps.
Here is a fun review of Hangouts by Steve Garfield
For a more step by step video check out this walk through by Peter G McDermott How to Use Google+ Hangouts (A Beginners’ Guide)