By Vlad Vidaeff
 
I have been a big fan of the complete menu of Google apps for the past decade.  In fact, in almost every situation, I prefer Google’s offerings to their main competitor.  Victory to Gmail over Microsoft Outlook.  Thumbs up to Google Maps over Apple Maps.  Cheers to Google Docs over Microsoft Office for group projects.  This blog will explore the benefits of an underrated Google app: Google Hangouts.
 
google-hangoutsFor those of you unfamiliar with Google Hangouts, they are essentially video chats that can be conducted on your computer or phone.  While they may be popular for folks in long-distance relationships, Google Hangouts also provide many benefits to businesses.  Hangouts can be used for both intra-company purposes and also for your marketing efforts.  Regarding intra-company purposes, Google Hangouts are a great option for staff meetings.  Especially if your workforce isn’t located in the same office, Google Hangouts allow you to conduct quick meetings no matter where your employees are located.  All you need is an Internet connection and a Google account to take part in the meeting whether you are at the office, at home, or traveling.  Unlike a conference call, which would serve the same purpose, a Google Hangout has the added bonus of video so that you can see your coworkers as you are taking part in the meeting.  These same pluses apply if you work at an advertising agency or provide professional services to clients.  Google Hangouts with clients can replace phone calls/conference calls and increase efficiency.
 
Google Hangouts are also a valuable marketing tool.  You can use the app to record a meeting or presentation and then post it to YouTube.  Since Google owns YouTube, YouTube integration allows anyone in your company to watch the meeting or presentation in real-time even if they are not actively participating in the meeting.  Better yet, users can upload videos and presentations relevant to the Google Hangout to YouTube and share the video among the chat participants.  While you are watching a video that has been uploaded, you can still see your video chat participants, as their images are displayed below the YouTube video.
 
The ways in which you can use Google Hangouts are limitless.  Here are some popular uses: videos for your blog, videos for your website, videos announcing new products or services, service calls, and webinars.  You can even upload your Google Hangout videos to Facebook, Google+, and other social media outlets to share with your fans and followers.
 
If you have ever used Skype, catching on to Google Hangouts will be a breeze.  Due to its ease of use, YouTube integration, and lack of downloads, Google Hangouts are primed to reign supreme in the video chat/conferencing arena.  Jump on board this speeding train as it gains steam!