One of the hottest and most used feature in Google+ social network is Google+ hangouts. To spice up further, google+ team is introducing quite a lot of features that are only found in paid commercial tools, absolutely free for Google+ users.
These new features are available as preview features (still in development) bundled and called as Google+ hangouts with extras.
Here are some of the notable features
- Screen sharing / Desktop sharing – Now when you are hosting an hangout, you can share your screen or a window and present to the hangout participants
- Google Doc’s integration – You can share a google document with hangout participants and collaboratively edit with other participants (Similar functionality of Google Wave now with video and audio interactiveness)
- Shared notes – Collaboratively take notes as the hangout proceeds
- Shared sketchpad or scratchpad – Collaboratively draw diagrams with hangout participants
- Named Hangouts – Name your hangouts, easy for sharing
Interested in trying or using these new features? All you have to do is, Start a new hangout by clicking on Start a hangout button in your Google+ page. In the following hangout screen look for the link Try Hangouts with extras to preview new features (refer image below). (Note: You must click on the link to launch the hangout with extras not the hangout button to try the new features.)
We tried all these new hangouts extras feature today with our team and they all worked flawlessly (remember these features are in preview mode). However there were some minor usability issues while using screen sharing mode. While screen sharing, it doesn’t show the presenter instead it replaced his view with the screen (can’t see the presenter). In another instance it worked perfectly fine with the shared screen took over majority of the real estate and each of the participants appeared in small viewports on the right. Since it is in preview mode, we’re pretty sure Google+ team is working on issues and enhancements.
For a small startup like us with teams spread across the planet, these tools are a God send. These new features combined with existing features takes socializing to a whole new level combined with greater productivity.
These new features are cool, very useful and well thought through – for that Google+ team deserves appreciation, on behalf of us and our readers Kudos guys!!!