Hangout with friends and family… online!

Wouldn't it be kinda' cool to hang out with your friends and family, even though they are 4000+ miles away? For that matter,  how about getting all of the family together for a video chat? You know, you can surf the web together, watch some videos -- just whatever you want.

Or... what if you run a business and want to get your website visitors to watch a webinar, but can't  get all of the presenters in one place to do it?

Mashable, is the largest independent news source dedicated to covering digital culture, social media and technology. Mashable’s 20 million monthly unique visitors and 4 million social media followers have become one of the most engaged online news communities.  And just recently they decided to hangout  with Daria Musk.  You don't know who she is? From one of her posts, she says:

I’m a girl, a singer/songwriter who has been living in the woods in Connecticut, USA. I’ve been singing for trees, driving an hour to New York City to pour my heart out in noisy bars and rock clubs, grateful for every chance to pick up my guitar and play for someone… And dreaming that maybe if I worked very hard and got very very lucky, maybe one day I could sing for people all over the world.

In three days Google+ changed my life, my heart and my career overnight and turned my dreams into virtual reality.

All-right! Let's not get overly excited here. If you're  50+ and alone, you probably aren't going to rocketed to international stardom overnight. If course, I don't know you, so I could be wrong about this.

But what happened to Daria, is that Google Hangouts made it possible for interviewers from Mashable to interview and listen to Daria, although everyone lives  countless miles apart. And then after the video, it was automatically posted to Mashable's YouTube account, so all of their followers could view it. The interview lasts for about 45 minutes, during which time, Daria sings a couple of her songs. If you're interested in watching it, you don't have to go too far. Click here to watch it now, if you want to.

So what exactly is a Google Hangout and why would you care?

If you watched the video above, you would see that besides Daria, there were numerous other people in the video. With this program you can:

  • Invite friends to a free video chat, anytime, anywhere.
  • Catch up with the whole family -- whether you’re on your computer, phone or tablet device.
  • Host virtual meetings.
  • Up to 10 people can join a hangout, and it’s easy to invite specific friends or circles.

Watch the video below with instructions on how to get started:

And... team collaboration gets better when you’re face to face. Hangouts offers a suite of productivity apps that let you share what’s on your screen, collaborate in Google Docs, view presentations and diagram together. To access these, simply click the “Add app” button inside your hangout to browse and add new apps. If a team member can’t join the hangout, you can also dial the person in by clicking on the “Invite” button and then the “+telephone” link. Calls to the US and Canada are free, and international calling rates are very low.

When you start a hangout, check “Enable Hangouts On Air” to stream your live hangout publicly on your Google+ profile, your YouTube channel and your website. During the broadcast, you can look inside the Hangout to see how many viewers are watching live. Once you’re off the air, we’ll upload a public recording to your YouTube channel and to your original Google+ post, so it’s easy to share and discuss your broadcast after it’s over.

Want to get started with Google hangouts? Click here to install the plugin.

Once you get it mastered, considering sharing what you have learned with any seniors you might know. It will help them feel connected. I was reading an article published by Carefect, which is a private home care services company dedicated to supporting the needs of the elderly, seniors and people with a disability or illness and families requiring a helping hand. From their experience they say:

Many seniors complain of feeling alone and left out of the world. The internet is a great way for seniors to communicate with their friends and family, without ever having to leave their homes. That means that, even seniors who cannot travel and have limited mobility can keep up with the happenings in the world around them. The internet can allow them access to tons of information and can also help them to stay connected with friends and family. It also gives them a creative outlet as they can find others who share similar interests without having to leave the home. It is also a great way for seniors to stay abreast of what is happening in the community and the world.

One thing I forgot to mention.... this new Google service really works best if everyone connected has a high speed Internet connection. Those that don't will find it hard to keep up as the video transmissions will lag a bit.


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