A recently-announced integration between Google Hangouts and Google Calendar will make it easier to hold video chats for any meetings you have scheduled.
Google Hangouts is the service used within Google Apps for text and video chatting previously known as Google Chat or Google Talk. Video chatting is an excellent way to more easily meet with each other by taking advantage of the video cameras many computers, tablets, and smartphones now have built-in.
In the past, the number of people you could invite to a video chat was limited unless Google+ was enabled. In late July, Google updated the Hangouts video chat capabilities within Google Apps with features previously only granted to users with a Google+ profile, including
- Video chat with up to 15 participants
- Include any external guests who have a Google account
- Join or start a Hangout at g.co/hangout
- Share your screen within a Hangout
Most of these changes went unnoticed unless you were already a frequent video chat user. However, the new and quite noticeable integration between Hangouts and Calendar started showing up on calendar events on August 6.
Video call links in Calendar
When you create a calendar event and invite people to attend, the invitation your attendees receive will now include a video chat link that has already been set up for use in your meeting.
If you do not want to send a video chat link with a meeting invitation, select Remove next to the video call section of your event prior to sending out the invitations.
Best practices for video calls
Video calls are awesome because you can join in from anywhere, but there are some things you might want to consider before picking a location.
- Lighting: The joy of a video call is that your coworkers can see you when they talk to you. Make sure that there is enough light so that other participants can see your face.
- Noise: Ambient noise, like traffic or loud conversations, can muddy the quality of your audio. Use a headset with a microphone or move to a quiet space for the best audio quality.
- Privacy: Working from your favorite coffee shop can be nice: you have access to the best lattes around. But just make sure that the person behind you can’t see your screen or hear your call, especially if you’re discussing that top-secret project.
- Setting: Pick somewhere professional. You don’t want people to be distracted by the paintings on the wall behind you when you’re trying to pitch an idea.
- Mute your mic: If you’re not talking, mute your mic. It will make it easier for everyone on the call to hear the person who is talking because micro-noises like typing or pen tapping won’t accidentally disrupt the speaker.
Want to learn more? The Google Calendar help site provides detailed instructions on how to use Hangouts video calls in Google Calendar.