Chapter 6. Hanging Out

WRITING POSTS, uploading pictures, and checking out all the things your friends have written and uploaded to Google+ is a great way to let people know what you’re up to and keep tabs on what they’re doing. But what if you want to connect with people in real time and on a more personal level? That’s where Google+ hangouts come in. They’re a super simple way for you to chat with people using a microphone and (if you have one) a webcam, a video camera designed specifically to send video to your computer. (Most newer laptops come with webcams built in.)

In Chapter 3, you learned how your main Google+ stream is kind of like the lobby of a college dorm, and the streams for your individual circles are similar to hallways within that dorm, where everyone’s written notes and posted photos on their doors. To continue that analogy, Google+ hangouts are like hanging out in a dorm room with the door open so people can pop in and out. (Or, as Vic Gundotra, Google’s Senior Vice President of Engineering put it, hangouts are like sitting on your front porch and letting people know you’re there: “Hey, I’m hanging out on my porch. I’m available, [and] if you’re available too, you can join [me].”) It’s a place where you can turn on your microphone and, if you like, your webcam and, well, hang out with your friends. You can see your friends’ faces and have meaningful conversations. And best of all, nobody has to install a special program, trade usernames, or “ring” a whole bunch ...

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