20th Aug2013

Hanging Out With Google

by Lloyd Paige

GoogleHangouts

Not too long ago Google updated its Talk app by rebooting it as Hangouts, a name which may be familiar to many already on Google+. If you’re running Android you’ll need Google Play Services installed for the app to run on your mobile device or tablet, or if you have an iPhone or iPad, simply log into the AppStore. It can also be downloaded straight onto your PC too but remember, the App Administrator will need to authorise it before it can be fully accessed.

What can we do with the app? Well perhaps it could be used to good effect within the publishing industry to create a ‘Hangout’ for an author to conduct a special Q&A, for example with a select group of book reviewers or readers? Hey, it might have happened already but if it hasn’t, imagine the sort of questions that might ping around as the group actively engage in the discussion of an author’s new book. And if you wanted the world and buying public to experience it too, then the meeting could be turned into a video call and streamed live via Google+ or YouTube. With up to ten people able to join the conversation, plenty of feedback could be had.

What else? Well if someone is running late for the meeting a message can be sent to their way, even if they are not connected and the app works across a series of different devices. This is useful if you’re involved in a discussion at your desktop PC and you need travel to another meeting. Fine, pick up your mobile and continue your involvement on your way there. It might be worth mentioning also that if you’ve got a Google+ account then you can begin conversations with your Google+ Circles by using the new Hangouts app.

The drawback is of course the new app doesn’t yet facilitate Google Voice, SMS, or any collaborative document sharing options, which at least shows that there’s room for it to expand.

Yet if publishers are searching for a fresh way to embrace social media so that their authors can engage and promote their work, then this could be the answer.

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