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Why Google Hangouts might be better than Skype

Personally, I’d call Google Hangouts Google’s answer to Skype. But whenever I suggest using Google Hangouts I usually get an evasive reply. I’ve finally realised that’s because Google Hangouts were only invented in May 2013. Most people in the UK haven’t heard of them, let alone used them. And, er, well, I hadn’t used them either. So when I met Norwich-based web designer, Louise Busby, we decided to try it out.

Accessing Google Hangouts

Access Google Hangouts from your Google Plus Profile – click on the quote marks just below your profile picture on the top left.

Are Google Hangouts just for tekkies?

Lou and I are at opposite ends of the tekkie spectrum. She has a degree in engineering and more, while I am the sort of person who talks about ‘the little red thingy in the top left-hand corner’. My speciality is words – how to write them, where to use them and what they can do to transform your business. But without the tekkie side, the words would stay inside your head. They need the technology – your website, blog and social media – to give them wings. So I have hauled myself out of the Stone Age (or perhaps we should call it the Paper Age). I think not being tekkie helps with teaching, because I use ordinary language And also people know that if I can do it – and explain it – then it can’t be that difficult.

blogging workshop

Most of my workshops aren’t very tekkie – they’re about the words. But it’s worth finding out about a few really useful apps, such as Google Hangouts. Here author Celia Dodd and stylist Liz Bauwens find out what is worth doing, and what isn’t.

On a scale of 1-10…..where 1 is difficult and 10 is easy….

But I do have a sinking feeling every time something new comes along. Not another thing to learn! I logged onto Google Hangouts via my Google Plus profile and clicked on the quote marks in the top left hand corner. On a scale of 1-10, where 1 equals ‘very difficult’, I’d give Google Hangouts an 8. So pretty easy. For a technical thingy. To find out more, read Lou’s Easy Guide to Using Google Hangouts here.

You need a gmail account…

You’ll need a gmail account to use Google Hangouts. But they’re free and most people have them. You’ll automatically be offered a Google Plus profile page. Most people in the UK fill these in, but don’t seem to do much with them.

A better picture than Skype

I thought the picture was much sharper and clearer than Skype. I mentioned this to a 60-something friend of mine, who perked up. ‘I never use Skype for online dating,’ she said. ‘It makes everyone look so awful. Maybe I should give Google Hangouts a try.’ Well, if they don’t take off for conferencing and seminars, I’m sure the world of online dating will be grateful.

You can record your session and post it to YouTube…

We did rehearse twice before, so you won’t get quite so many shots of our nostrils as we say the words ‘what’s this here?’ But we had it cracked in under an hour…which isn’t a big chunk out of your life for something that could be very useful.

And Google Hangouts are useful for what….?

* Person to person chats

* Group seminars or conferences up to 10 people

* I could run my blogging workshops online with Google Hangouts

* You could record yourself for a YouTube clip

* If you’re having trouble using your pc, Lou (or your web designer) can help you from their office. Although that does rather depend on whether you’ve got as far as clicking on the Google Hangout button…

* Lots more. Lou and I go into it here: watch the result

So did I think Google Hangouts were better than Skype? Personally, I’d say ‘yes, definitely.’

Do please share this using the buttons below to spread the word – thank you. And if you’re interested in learning blogging, I have three blogging workshops in London in September, October and November. Do come!

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