Here is a quick bulletpoint list of things to know about Google Hangouts. Scroll way down for more detailed instructions.
- I suggest using Chrome for this – though Firefox SHOULD work as well. I wouldn’t even try it with Internet Explorer – life is too short.
- Open up your email, or Drive. Look for the little square made up of little squares, on the right. Click it – that will bring up a list of Google Apps that you have available.
- Click on the MORE link at the bottom – and you should see Hangouts listed there. Click on it – which will open up a new tab.
- There will be a 4-screen walkthrough pop up. Just scroll through it.
- See the little menu on the left side? Click the three dots to open it up.Click it to see what the options are – ESPECIALLY the “invites”
- If you have an invitation, you should be able to click on it to start connecting.
- If YOU want to start a video call, then click the Video Call icon in the middle. That will open up a new tab, and you’ll see a box where you can type in an email address.
- You MIGHT have to allow off-campus connections by clicking a box.
- Once the call has started, at the top you can click the gear icon to set what camera to use, what microphone, etc.
- The menu at top also lets you mute the microphone and camera. If there’s no picture, sometimes it’s because the camera is muted.
If you have your email open in a browser window, then a popup note should appear in the window when someone invites you to video chat.
- You can also chat over Hangouts, and do audio only.
- You can also have multiple people involved in a hangout:
- You can see there are 7 people involved in this one. You just keep inviting more people to your hangout.
- There IS a limit, but you will probably over-stress your machine or the network before you reach the Google-imposed limit.
- There is also an option to add Apps to a hangout – one of which allows you to draw onto someone’s face. Thus the red nose and antlers on the person, second from the left, above.
CLICK EACH PICTURE TO SEE A LARGER VERSION.
WARNING: These instructions may not accurately reflect reality. They do, however, give a pretty good general idea of what to expect when using Google Hangouts.
1. Using Chrome, login to your email. Look on the top right for an icon made up of little squares. Click it, then click the MORE link at the bottom. Click the Hangouts icon.
Another option – login to your email. Open up a new tab. Surf to hangouts.google.com
2. This is what the screen will look like. There are some controls and options on the left side – including a window where you can see what calls you’ve been invited to.
Click the VIDEO CALL icon.
3. This screen will popup. The big box on the right is where you will give your session a name. ALL OF THE PARTICIPANTS need to know what name you give it.
If they use the same session name, then they’d join the call.
4. After starting the video call, this is the screen you’ll see. At the top are some control icons – you can mute the microphone and mute the camera. The GEAR ICON lets you select which camera. microophone, and audio output [speakers] to use – if you have a choice [the built-in webcam versus and external one, for example].
One tech note: some of the laptops had muted microphones. They were muted in the Sound control panel.
5. You can INVITE people to join the session here. Add there email addresses, then invite. You will probably have to ALLOW people from outside our “MDS Google sandbox” by clicking on the ALLOW button.
If you have your email up in a web browser window and someone invites you to videochat, then you should see a popup in your email window in the lower right corner. You can click a camera icon in that window to automatically join the videochat.
6. Your camera shows up in the lower right corner. THEIR camera fills up the screen – obviously, there wan’t an active call when these shots were taken.
There’s the icon to hang up the call, highlighted in the picture.
- Decide who will invite whom. It saves trouble.
- Quit out of everything else you are running – including all other tabs in your browser. This also saves trouble.
- Make sure you are using a WIRED network connection. It just works better.
- The biggest problem I saw when using with a class is that many people talking at the same time was NOT a good idea. The audio kept breaking up and making what the other person said unintelligible.
- The chat window can be useful when a call is in process.
- The builtin webcam works OK, but merely OK. Ask Tech or the ARC about webcam availability.
- Setup the connection BEFORE using it in class. Some connections took 10-15 minutes to get going.