Google Hang Hangout Tips

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by MakeDo, Jul 26, 2014.

  1. MakeDo

    MakeDo Scout

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    Hey all,

    After seeing the last couple Hangout threads and noticing some questions, I figured I'd do a very basic guide to help with the process of setting up.

    What You Need:

    PC, WebCam and Microphone. Many new webcams have the microphones included and most newer laptops have a camera and mic built in.

    If you're using a desktop, it's best to install your mic and cam first. Usually this is just a matter of plugging it in via USB and letting the computer install it. Feel free to PM me if you have any trouble; I check in here pretty regularly on my train ride to and from work.

    Next, you need to have a Gmail/Google+ account. Free to register, so go ahead and make one. Google has many tutorials as you can watch/read as you do this to personalize your G+ page. Just remember, this is Google, so what you put there is "Out There" in cyberspace for anyone to see.

    Once you have your account, you can install the Hangouts App. On the right side of your Google Plus page, you'll see a box with a link that says " Start a Video Hangout" at the bottom. Clicking this will either launch a new hangout or, if you don't have the Google + App, you'll be taken to the download site. Go ahead and click the link provided to download the app and install it as normal. Whichever browser you're using (FireFox, Internet Explorer, etc.) is the browser that will get the app. This is the browser you want to use for the hangout.

    Setting it up:

    Once the download and installation is complete, your new hangout will automatically open. There are a few things you can play with in here, so for now, cancel inviting others and enjoy seeing yourself on camera. Mouse over pop up window on the top and a bar will open with a few icons. Here is where you can work some magic to adjust Hangouts for your hardware/software.

    The first icon from the left is an invitation button. Use this to invite people from your "circles" in Google Plus.

    The second icon is microphone mute - this will cut your microphone off so what you say is not broadcast. Independent of your Camera; you may be silent, but I can still see you!

    The third icon is camera mute - this will cut off your camera and stop broadcasting. It is independent of your microphone. A red box around either the camera or microphone icon indicates that you are muted. Tap to mute or unmute either.

    The third icon (the "bars") is for you to adjust what your bandwidth. Hangouts will default to "auto" setting your bandwidth - usually this works well, but it depends on your internet service. Clicking on this icon will open a pop up. At the top of the pop up is a slider. Moving the slider to the left decreases resolution (picture quality), which will take up less of your available internet connection. If your are experiencing screen freezes, choppy audio or a very slow computer, slide to the left. Sometimes you may see choppy video, but have good audio - this is normal as the program Google Hangouts uses favors audio over video.

    The fourth icon (the gear) is your settings. Clicking the gear will open a pop up that lets you choose your camera, speakers and microphone. All devices installed on your computer will show here. Google Hangouts will alert you if you don't have one of these components installed before you set up or enter a Hangout. At the bottom of the pop up is a blue link for testing audio - this is audio play back.

    The final icon will "hang up" from the Hangout. Just like hanging up from a conference call on a phone, you're disconnected, but the call goes on.

    If you've gone through and done this on the browser you view BCUSA with, you're all set for the next Google Hangout. When you click the hangout link, you'll be asked to sign into Google and taken to the page you were just on. Google will let you test your camera, speakers and mic before joining.

    Tips for having a good Hangout:

    Lighting is everything. Avoid bright lights directly behind you as you'll look like a shadow to the rest of us. Lights are best above and in front of you.

    Your video looks better when there is less movement. Keep your hand motions, etc. to a minimum. Also be mindful of other things that may be moving in the background; TV screens in the background are big culprits. So are cats, kids, blowing curtains, etc.

    If you're joining a hangout, it's not a good time to be burning CD/DVD, running a computer scan and updating your computer. Ideally, only a browser with Google Plus and BCUSA is open.

    If at all possible, connect via Ethernet to the internet. A wired connection is always preferred for Video Conferencing. This will give you your very best possible connection and all but eliminate slow/jumpy video.

    Last, background noise. I work with videoconferencing for a living, and I've jumped on a conference totally oblivious to the dryer running in the background.

    There is a lot more that can be done with Hangouts (sharing screens, etc.), but this should be enough to get started. Google has some great tutorials for utilizing this program--if you think it would be cool to do, there is probably way to do it on Hangouts.

    Finally, this "cheat sheet" is written as a reference from my installation and set up using Windows 7 on a laptop with a built in camera and microphone. I later added an HD Webcam and higher end USB Speaker/Mic combo without impacting the Hangout. I was able to switch sources while on the hangout with a minimal drop in audio/video. For reference purposes, I'm also connected via WiFi. If you have any other problems, please PM me and I'll do my best to help you out. I am usually on the forum daily, especially during the week (train ride). Hope to see you guys at the next Hangout!
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014
  2. GreyOne

    GreyOne Elder Lifetime Supporter

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    Stickied for future reference.
     
  3. RockyMnts

    RockyMnts Tracker

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    Good information, thanks for posting this.
     
  4. isurvivalist

    isurvivalist Tracker Bushclass I

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    Good info. Thank you very much!
     

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