Tech Tips for a Successful Hangout
You’ve decided to host a hangout with some friends. You have laptop computer and a smartphone. Which is the best one to use? What browser do you need to use? We’ve rounded up these tech tips for you so you can have a successful hangout. You can find further assistance in Hangouts Help.
Hangouts let you connect with everyone since it can be accessed from your laptop or desktop, from a smartphone or android phone using the Google+ app, tablets, iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch.
For your smartphone or tablet, you will need to download the plugin or app on your device. This is done by accessing your Google+ account on your device.
Google+ Hangouts is supported on most browsers including Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 8+, Mozilla Firefox 3.+ and Safari 4.+.
Your processor’s minimum requirements should be a 2 Ghz dual core processor or greater. The operating systems can be Mac OS X 10.5 +, Chrome, Linux, Windows 7, Vista and XP. Chrome in Windows 8 requires you to be running in desktop mode. This can be done from your browser toolbar and clicking on the relaunch in desktop mode.
Google recommends that you use a wired internet connection to broadcast when using Hangouts on Air. Make sure you have a strong internet signal for the high quality video and clear audio.
Broadband connection to the Internet is recommended. The bandwidth recommendations are:
For 1 to 1 connections the suggested amount is a 1 mbps/1 mbps (up/down).
For group video connections the suggested amount is 1 mbps/2 mbps (up/down).
For sending and receiving messages, you can have a group Hangout with up to 100 people. On video calls, the limit is 10 participants. Googles checks in every 150 minutes to see if the hangout is still active.
You need a high quality external webcam. You might want to recommend the same for your group participants.
Google Hangouts does not support the following webcams:
- Logitech webcams (C310, C910, etc.) don’t work on Mac OS X 10.6.7 or earlier
- VideoPower Plus software for webcams: For Windows machines only, the latest version of the cc.vdo file is not compatible.
- The Tascam US-144 microphone and the Realtek ALC883 Audio Codec and Version 188.8.131.5213
- Conexant 20585 SmartAudio HD Audio chipsets aren’t supported.
You’ve probably seen the video or conference where the presenter has this strange unflattering light across their face or where the room so dark you can’t tell who is talking or what is happening. The best way to fix this is to create your Hangout in a well-lit room. Your light source needs to be facing you, not behind you. It should be behind the webcam as well.
Your Hangout on Air should take place in a quiet area like a studio, office or even a corner of a bedroom. Every little background noise can be picked up in your Hangout.
If an echo happens, there are two probable reasons:
- The participant is playing a live stream of your hangout on Air in another browser. Ask them politely to stop the player.
- Two people are calling from the same physical space.
Problem: Others can’t view my Hangouts on Air:
Solutions: Be sure to select the Start broadcast at the top of the video window. This allows the public to see your Hangout on Air. The live player should be on your Home page. If you can’t see it then others won’t either. Exit out of the Hangout on Air and restart your broadcast.
Problem: Where is my Hangout on Air video?
Solution: If you used Google+ pages to record your video, they are saved in the YouTube account of the person who hosted the broadcast.
Problem: My audio or video isn’t working or skips:
Solution: Is your webcam and microphone plugged in? Check this first. Check your plugin settings to make sure you are using the right microphone and webcam. Make sure your microphone or webcam isn’t in use by some other application. This can be done by clicking on the gear icon at the top of the video call window.
You need to install a specific driver if your microphone or webcam is showing up as a USB video/audio device.
You’ll see your video feed on the left side of the screen if your camera is enabled correctly.
Test your mic by speaking aloud. The meter next to the microphone icon will change if the mic is working correctly. To test your speaker settings, click play.
Try exiting and rejoining the video call hangout.
As a last option you may have to restart your computer for the new settings to take effect.
Problem: My preview post of Hangout on Air isn’t playing right:
Solution: The preview only works after you click Start broadcast. Make sure you have clicked this.
Conclusion Of Hangout Tech Tips
You can connect with your friends, family and business associates on the Google+ Hangout just like you would using Skype. It works on your pc, your mac, your smartphone and most other mobile devices. With the right equipment, audio, lighting and webcam the trouble shooting should be a minimum. Even if you do have some problems with the hangout, you can find answers in the Google+ knowledgebase or their forum.