One of the biggest barriers to doing hangouts is environmental. The computer is in the same room as someone watching TV. It’s too weird to do a hangout in a public place. It’s too noisy to hear the conversation.
The solution is to use a headset that offers extreme noise cancellation. The best one that I’m aware of is called the Boom E.
The headset will work with any device, from a desktop computer to a laptop to a tablet to a phone -- all devices that also enable Hangouts.
And you’ll hear the other people on the hangout, too, because the earpiece goes deep into your ear, making conversation audible even in very noisy environments.
The same headset also enables hangouts in very quiet environments. You can whisper, and everyone on the hangout can hear you just fine, but people in the same room can’t hear you at all.
People tend to treat hangouts like videoconferences. You make the connection, you have you conversation, and you get off.
There’s no need to get off with Google+ Hangouts.
You can run what I call “ambient hangouts” -- hangouts that are always running. It’s an open invitation to connect.
Who would you invite? I would recommend a spouse, or a small circle of friends. They can connect, say hi, then go on with their day while the hangout is still going. It’s a lot like you’re spending time together in the same room.
Futurists have been predicting, and researchers have been inventing, a world of systems that will create the illusion that you’re in a specific place, even though you’re far away. But Google+ Hangouts make this happen at no additional cost and with almost no effort.
Here’s an idea. Let’s say you’re planning to work from home tomorrow. Before you leave the office, launch a hangout and invite only yourself. Full-screen the hangout window on the computer on your desk, then go home for the day.
The next day, as you’re working at home, join your own hangout.
When people come to your desk, there you’ll be. They can have a face-to-face conversation with you in your office as if you were sitting there.
If there’s a meeting in the conference room, you can invite one of the participants to the still-running hangout. They can log in with their account, and now you’re in the meeting.
Everybody loves Google+ hangouts, even your dog or cat! If you want to stay in touch with your pet while on the business trip or just at work, set up a monitor in a place where they can’t claw at it, and launch a hangout before leaving. You’ll be able to watch, listen to and talk to your pet while away. They’ll love it, and so will you. Why not? It’s free!
These are my six stupid hangout tricks -- amazing uses for Google+ Hangouts that Google never intended.