It’s been around for two years now, but many Google users still aren’t familiar with Google+ Hangouts, a powerful and increasingly popular free video chat feature.
Hangouts, which can be used to have a live video chat with up to 10 people and which can also be broadcast to the public, were introduced with the launch of the Google+ social network. While Google+ took a while to find its identity, Hangouts were a stand-out feature from the beginning and have gone on to swallow up the company’s Google Talk and Messenger chat applications.
Hangouts can also be used to chat without video or to share photos and documents with a group of people. It works on computers as well as some mobile devices including Android and iOS phones and tablets. Public Google+ Hangouts (known as “Hangouts On Air”) can be automatically uploaded to YouTube, allowing those who missed the chat to view it later.
Curious about Hangouts? Come check out one the American-Statesman will be hosting at 2 p.m. Tuesday to discuss this week’s Digital Savant column on whether you should unplug on a family vacation. Food writer Addie Broyles, travel experts Sheila Scarborough and Kristi Kingston will participate in the chat. Go to austin360.com/digitalsavant for a link to the Hangout.
In this space every week, we’ll define a tech term, offer a timely tip or answer questions about technology from readers. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.