Why I love Google Hangouts more than Skype now

The Creative Collective director Yvette Adams.
The Creative Collective director Yvette Adams.

I HAVE been using Skype for so long that I can't even remember when I actually started using it.  I loved it from the moment I started using it because I could talk, for free, to my valued friends and business contacts around the world through text chat, audio or video conference, provided they too had a free Skype account. 

Apart from personal reasons, for some time my team at The Creative Collective have been using Skype as a way to collaborate, communicate and reduce the number of internal emails. After all, there is no need to send an email to ask someone in the office 'where is the blue folder' is there?

But lately, I have to say I think I prefer Google Hangouts over Skype.  Big call, but here's why…

We first experimented with Google Hangouts late last year when we were running our annual strategic planning day. 

We have a team that spans the globe; with the need to have people logging in for the session from Milan, Melbourne, Gold Coast and of course head office at the Sunshine Coast.  With Skype, we found that the line quality was often unreliable and if you had any more than six people on line at the one time, it generally fell over. And of course ever since Microsoft purchased Skype, you now can't have more than two people on a video conference call on Skype without paying for the service. As proud cheapskates, we aren't keen to pay for it if there is a free and better option, and from where I'm standing, Google Hangouts is it. 

Google Hangouts is great because it is free and we can have six or more people on the line at one time, all on video, with a nice reliable connection.  Just like Skype or a webinar, we can mute the other participants, and when they wish to speak they can wave at us madly or text message via the system and we unmute them. 

Not only that, but we have had a lot of fun with Google Hangouts too using some of their effects.  We like to have fun whilst we work, so when the team returned from a break during the strategic planning day, they were pretty amused to see me sitting there with a moustache, glasses and a Dr Seuss hat - all of which were super imposed over my video image. 

Google Hangouts is basically just another way Google is trying to compete with Facebook and some of the other fast growing social networks, and to be honest with Google Hangouts as part of the overall suite, I think it is starting to get there. 

Now, my Google world in the form of Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Reader and Google Plus account links to Google Hangouts, and I can invite anyone to join my hangout and I can even run public ones like a webinar if I had a message to share. 

I can also record my hangout and upload immediately to YouTube (also owned by Google) either privately, or publically.  The private option would be a great way to record the 'minutes' of a meeting in the form of a video, instead of the written word - staff can view it. Alternatively you can run a webinar-like session with people around the world and throw the recording up on YouTube to share your message with the masses. 

I believe Google Hangouts will continue to develop and they work well with Google Events too, which are wonderful.

Overall, I have to say, 'sorry, Skype - I don't think I need you anymore!' 

Have you tried Google?  Why not try it for your next business meeting and let me know how you go!

By Yvette Adams, director of The Creative Collective.

T: @creativecollect

Topics:  google skype yvette adams

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