Facebook’s video calling is only one-to-one calling, with limits on the other activity that you can do on the site once on a call, and on Skype you have to be a paying user to use group video chat. However with Google Hangouts the video chats are free, and up to 10 people can take part, with lots of different apps available (free) to have fun with during your calls, from poker to quizzes.
For purely social uses hangouts are great, they are free and simple to use, you just need to have a Google+ account (is it time to really jump on the Google+ bandwagon?). Michael Arrington at TechCrunch has written a great piece, that really gets into the social benefits of Google hangouts, compared to the other options available.
As well as the personal benefits of hangouts the option to stream your session live on YouTube, personal websites and blogs (all at the same time) means that Google Hangouts has got some great possibilities for small businesses. At this stage live hangouts are being tested by large corporations and organisations. From live hangouts with President Obama to live gigs the possibilities with hangouts are endless; and from a PR and social media point of view this could be a really interesting channel to get your message across.
For the world of PR, this could mean live interviews with CEO’s and key spokespeople from your clients, live product reviews from bloggers all around the world, live instruction sessions showing customers how to use clever products, constant streaming of shops, businesses, and events that people all around the world can join in with. Google hangouts could also really help with crisis management, as you will have the ability to reach your public almost immediately and most importantly affordably.
With Google Hangouts in its infancy it will be interesting to see how it is going to be adapted and utilised by business, especially in the PR world.
Has anyone used Google hangouts already? It would be great to hear what you thought of it.
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