Google has begun rolling out some new features for Google+ Hangouts, including the consolidation of key function tools like invites, chat and frequently used apps on the sidebar, along with colorful notifications for different functions.
Hangouts has proved to be a valuable tool for some small businesses that use Google+, particularly those who use it for collaboration and communication among team members.
Here are some tips to help your business make the most of the service for internal communication:
Make sure team members keep their meetings and presentations organized without the need of a separate planner or scheduling tool. Meeting leaders can send invitations to different team members and manage them now directly on their sidebar. The invites will also appear on the sidebars of those invited to the meeting, so these commitments will stay top of mind.
Chat Face to Face
When collaborating on a group project, you can chat face to face with employees, clients, or other team members in Hangouts while simultaneously making revisions or putting together documents in Google Docs, as shown in the screenshot above. You can even track edits and who has contributed what to the document.
Use Google+ Circles
Use Google+ Circles to organize employees into different departments or projects to ensure that team members in different departments receive all the necessary materials, but without overrunning every single employee with tons of data that isn’t necessarily relevant to their particular job description.
These circles can also be used to update team members about Hangouts or meetings, and to distribute the necessary materials for these gatherings.
Use Hangouts On Air
For important meetings or presentations that might be relevant to your whole team, even those who couldn’t make it to the meeting itself, you can use Hangouts On Air to save the meeting to your YouTube account and then share it via Google+ or YouTube with your whole team, clients, customers, or anyone else who might be interested.
Go Mobile With The Google+ App for iOS and Android
For those professionals who work from home or from a variety of locations, the Google+ app for both iOS and Android devices offers users the ability to join hangouts with their co-workers or clients from any location.
There are many different communication and collaboration tools on the market today, but Hangouts definitely offers a lot of features for no cost. Google is constantly updating its features for Google+ so Hangouts could continue to gain even more tools that could prove useful for small business users.