The Complete Guide to Google Hangouts

Zachary Passmore Zachary is one-half of the powerhouse intern duo at 501cTECH affectionally referred to as "The Zachs."

I have been asked to work on a variety of projects over the course of my internship with 501cTECH. One day I would be going over invoices and the next I would be re-imaging computers. Of all the different projects I've been asked to work on this summer, the most intriguing has been to research and write about Google Hangouts. Being the tech nerd that I am, it was surprising to hear of a Google app I had not yet utilized in group collaboration projects for my capstone classes. I jumped at the opportunity to learn more, and with the help of our other intern, (conveniently named Zach as well) we researched Google Hangouts inside and out. What we found turned out to be just what we were looking for – a free and useful communication tool for our Board of Directors.

Google Hangouts is a user-friendly multi-platform messaging and video chat application. It is 100% free and makes a great addition to any collaborative work environment.


You can share documents, save messages, send images, and record entire hangouts with up to ten people at a single time! While on Google Hangouts, your Google Drive can be accessed to take confidential polls, share PowerPoint presentations or to share Microsoft Word documents.

From what I’ve seen, Google Hangouts is a highly underutilized tool in the nonprofit sector, and It has the potential to help any organization collaborate more effectively.

There is a list of optional features to go along with the video chat application, including On-Air, Screen Share, Google Docs, and Google Effects.

On-Air saves video footage from the conference call and posts it to YouTube through the associated Google account.

Screen Share gives recipients on the other side of the screen access to view what you are currently viewing.

Google Docs gives people in the Hangout the ability to truly collaborate on the same document while communicating face to face from separate locations.

Google Effects provides digital animation to place on your head to make a Hangout more enjoyable. These features help provide the best, free and collaborative video chat application on the market.

As my internship comes to an end this week, my greatest advice to anyone reading this would be to implement Google Hangouts in any way possible, whether in board meetings, department-wide communication or even just for personal use. Google Hangouts can be a really valuable tool, readily available for anyone willing to be a little adventurous.

Topics: nonprofit technology

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