Making life easier with Google Hangouts

At POP, we’ve made it our mission to make your life as easy as possible, allowing you more time for all of life’s other important stuff.  That’s why we offer Google Apps for Business – this suite of tools by Google has all of the cool tools you need to run your business as efficiently as possible, including: Gmail, Drive, Calendar, and Hangouts.

While you may think you are already using these apps to their fullest power, there’s always something new to learn, and today we’re here to talk to you about how to make your life easier with Google Hangouts.

You probably know the basics about Google Hangouts — it’s a video chat platform; you can use it from any of your devices; it’s got cute emoji. But did you know that Google Hangouts is an awesome tool not just for communication, but for collaboration, customer service, project management, education…even job interviews?

Last week, Google added the functionality to allow business owners to add buttons on their websites that can launch a Hangout chat directly from their webpages. With this announcement, we got to thinking… what are the best uses for Google Hangouts? So, we compiled them – and here you go:

      • Conference calls—duh!
        Conference dial-in lines are so 2004 – there is no reason that we should be putting up with 30-digit dial-incodes and lack of face-to-face communication these days. Although it’s an obvious use, Google Hangouts is the perfect google-hangout-calendar-linkchoice for conference calls. Unlike other video conference platforms, all participants can use video, and you can create a standing Hangout to replace your recurring dial-in meetings. If you are using Google Calendar, there is even a default Hangout link included in every meeting request (see image)
      • Collaborate with remote team members
        So many of today’s teams are not in the same office – for instance, while our office is located in Miami, our Lead Developer (@cballou) is located in Charlotte and our CEO (@juandiegocalle) is always traveling somewhere amazing (he’s in Aspen this week). Plus, our partners are everywhere from Silicon Valley to London, and beyond. Google Hangouts allows teams to work together from wherever we are. We hold our daily scrums (see point above), conduct code review meetings , demo to partners, and generally just collaborate throughout the day to get the work cranked out no matter where we all happen to be. Just because we aren’t sitting next to each other, doesn’t mean we can’t have face-to-face conversations.
      • Give presentations
        As mentioned above, with Hangouts, you can take typical “telephone” presentations to the next level. Share your screen, answer real-time questions, or use the Slideshare app to view multiple presentations within the same Hangout. So many things can be missed when you are only doing a phone call, make every meeting count with Hangouts! If you want to make an even bigger presentation – Google Hangouts is the perfect spot to conduct an online class, book launch or small webinar. You can even use Hangouts On-Air to broadcast to a larger audience.
      • Customer service
        Have you ever tried to contact a company and explain an issue you are having with their product, only to have to mutter things like “No, it’s not that link, it’s the one on the right of my screen under the other link that is underlined in green” – it’s infuriating, and you always find yourself thinking that “there must be a better way” – well, there is. Many companies, including us, are utilizing Hangouts for face-to-face customer service. Since there is a built in screen share feature, it’s a perfect way to troubleshoot, diagnose, answer questions and provide technical support in real time, and without having to awkwardly explain the issue.
      • Job interviews
        Sometimes it isn’t realistic to have an in-person interview, but you know that a phone interview just won’t be enough to tell you what you need to know about the person. Google Hangouts to the rescue. Your potential candidate can answer your questions, you can share visual cues about certain topics that are being discussed, and you can review his/her portfolio at the same time.

Interested in using Google Hangouts for one or more of the activities above, but don’t have Google Apps yet? No worries, that’s what we are here for. Sign up for POP today and get a new Google Apps for Business account complete with your own custom domain name and email address already setup with all the power of Google Apps behind you!

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