Monday, 2 March 2015

Is Google Plus Is Dead (again!)

Firstly, NO Google+ is not dead!

Sadly it is human nature to expect the worst and believe media hype and what the on-line world of techchrunch and other platforms write, that is often times a little bit of factuality and a BIG piece of hype - they do this to get more views on their websites, sometimes it is called click-baiting as well, write a headline or something "newsworthy" that will attract people to click and read your misinformed and incorrect article and you will get better search engine rankings....

And of course Google Plus Is Dead is a headline that these sites use to grab a bigger market share of viewers and clicks to their articles.

This week it was announced by +Bradley Horowitz

"Just wanted to confirm that the rumours are true -- I’m excited to be running Google’s Photos and Streams products!  It’s important to me that these changes are properly understood to be positive improvements to both our products and how they reach users".

And the rumour mills started turning - some people started to ask questions and get clarification and others immediately thought negatively (as is the trend with the human mind) and scaremongering kicked in alongside the media reporters who just want more views and better rankings online!

So of course, as there was a change and someone had become head of Photos and Stream (the term stream has been used within Google+ since the day it was created and simply means news feed to those who are not used to using G+)

But people saw an opportunity to spread some hype and get everyone excited at some negative connotations of what is actually a really positive move by Google - having someone focus specifically on elements with Google+ - really it's no different to appointing a new department head within a large retail organisation or corporate... The retailer and the corporate is still there, but internally things are headed by different people because the organisation has grown to a size that it needs more people to head up the different elements.

All the regular hype mongers started to post articles that Google+ was dead and of course people started to ask questions and share the negative media articles on G+ asking if they were true....

I found one where there was a response from +Yonatan Zunger which you can see below:

So there you can see that direct from Yonatan is clarification that Google+ is not dead!

Forbes have also recently interviewed Pichai

And of course Google+ was mentioned...... Here is the part that is in particular reference to Google+

Q: The one thing that comes to mind is Google+. We haven’t seen a lot of new things there and many people outside of Google think it’s been a flop. What are the lessons you learned from it? What’s the future for it?

A: Google+ has always meant two things for us. There’s the stream in the product that you see. And for us, Google+ was also a way by which Google after many years, we made sure there’s common [login and] identity across our products. The second part was in many ways even more important than the first part. That part has worked really well for us. In terms of the stream itself, based on the stats we see, we have a passionate community of users. We would definitely like to see more scale at what we do. The team is working on a few next generation ideas. But to us these are two different things, and I don’t think we have always done a good job of explaining that.

Q: There are other parts of Google +, like photos, which people seem to like but seem to have been dormant because they are part of the larger product.

A: We are actively working on all of these areas. To me, photos is an important area. I see that as a specific problem space that’s different from the [Google+] stream.

Q: Should we expect Google+ to remain as one big product?

A: I think increasingly you’ll see us focus on communications [Hangouts], photos and the Google+ stream as three important areas, rather than being thought of as one area.

So you can see, this is not the end of Google+ and Google Plus is not dead..........  It is growing and as it does that it needs to identify the different products in different ways to bring you, the people using the platform, the best experience it can.....

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

How do I see the posts I have clicked +1 on Google+

So often we click a +1 button on Google Plus and then want to go back in the future to see those posts again.  And some people think clicking the +1 button will save their posts for them, but this isn't quite the case.

A +1 on someone else's post on Google Plus is your way of telling the originator of the post that you like what they have shared with you.

If you want to find all the posts you have +1'd so you can go back to them later, then you can do this:

First make sure you are logged into Google+
Open a new browser tab and paste this link https://plus.google.com/apps/activities

This will open your activities and apps window for you and you will see all of your +1's listed

When you hover over the text in bold it becomes a click-able link that will take you back to the original post 

Friday, 13 February 2015

How do I start a Hangout and can I do Private Hangouts On Air

I was just listening to a webinar all about using and creating professional hangouts and some of the audience questions were not answered fully, which kind of frustrated me and I found myself talking to the screen and giving the full answers - but of course no-one could hear me and I was watching the replay so the chat facility was also not available for me to use and share the full answers,  so I thought  I would write a quick blog post to share some hints and tips on using Hangouts that will hopefully answer some of your questions:

Can you do private hangouts

The response was yes, that is a video call and is not recorded.  which is correct - but to expand on the answer:

You can also do private Hangouts on Air and broadcast your live Hangout to a select audience as well as invite your audience into the hangout to interact live on webcam and audio with you.

When you use a private Hangout On Air you have the choice on whether you have everyone inside the hangout room with you and the recording is for their private review after the live event or whether the audience is watching your presentation from outside the Hangout room and interacting with you via live chat messaging, with the option to re-watch the presentation at the end of the live event.  

How do I start a Hangout - the answer was, you can go to hangouts.google.com/start or you can login to your Google+ profile and then start your hangout from the right hand side of your page.

Again both of these answers are correct but they are only telling you how to start a private Hangout video call not how to start a Hangout On Air! (which is what this webinar was primarily about)

To start a Hangout On Air you:

Can go to Hangouts from the left hand navigation panel in Google+ and create your hangout on air from there (this will create a Google+ event page for your live broadcast

Can go to YouTube live and set-up a new live event, which will not create a Google+ event page for your live broadcast

I do hope that this post with questions and answers is helpful to you - if you want to learn more about Hangouts, how they can work for you in your life, business or charity and are looking for personal support and answers to your questions, not just generic information on using Hangouts successfully, why not take a peek at what Hangout Professionals can offer you - we currently have just 6 places available for 2015 so this is your opportunity to join an exclusive group of like-minded people discovering Hangouts and taking their online visibility to the next level

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

How to change which account I am joining a Hangout from

I don't know about you , but I often get invites to join a Hangout to the wrong account or Google+ page and it can be really frustrating trying to work out how to join it from the correct page/profile?

Well, Google have given you the answer to this preciously frustrating challenge.

When you click a Hangout on Air invite and the Hangout window opens - you have the opportunity to change which profile or page you join the hangout as.

In the image above - you can see the join button and under that it tells you who you are joining the hangout as.  BUT - if you are not in the right profile or page then you can click the "Switch accounts" link at the bottom of this window and change to the correct one without having to go back and work out how to get in as the correct person/page.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

How to Create a pdf from a Google doc and retain the hyperlinks

Often when you create a Google Doc - you will create a table of contents and include hyperlinks in it too.

The problem is that if you create your doc via Google docs and print or save it as a pdf - Sometimes the hyperlinks are lost in the final pdf file..... (This especially applies to your clickable table of contents).

So what can you do to retain any lost hyperlinks and your clickable table of contents?

It does take a few more steps but is very simple to do:

1. Create your Google doc and add your hyperlinks and clickable table of contents

2. Download the doc as a .odt document

3. Upload your doc to http://www.freepdfconvert.com/  (there is a free and a paid for option)

4. Download the newly created (for free) pdf doc to your computer
5. Share the pdf with everyone (or upload the pdf to Google drive and share the links direct)

It does take a few extra steps but is very fast and simple and solves the problem of Google docs not retaining their hyperlinks when saved as a pdf direct from Drive.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Why am I seeing a red circle or camera icon in my Chrome toolbar?

You may have recently noticed a red circle or grey video icon in your Chrome toolbar and are wondering what it is and why it is there?

This is the quite new and arrived when Hangouts On Air were made available to people using chrome, without them needing to download the voice and video plugin

  • The red circle means that your browser tab is using your webcam and audio and that you are in a Hangout On Air
  • The video icon means you have allowed the website you are currently visiting to access to your webcam and audio but it may not be using them right now

You can find out more about these icons and also what to do if you originally denied access through your Chrome browser to your webcam and audio so that your browser is set to always allow Google Hangouts to access your webcam and video in the future, below.

Taken directly from:  https://support.google.com/hangouts/answer/3110347

  1. When you try to start a video call for the first time, you’ll see a message underneath the address bar asking for permission to access your computer’s mic and camera.
  2. Click Allow. You only need to do this once. The Chrome browser will remember your choice for future Hangouts.
    • Red circle Red circle in the address bar of the Chrome browser: This means the browser's tab is using your mic and camera. It also means that you’re in a Hangouts video call without having the plugin downloaded to your computer.
    • Video camera icon Video camera in Chrome in the address bar of the Chrome browser: This means that you’ve allowed the website you're on to use your camera and mic, but it may not actually be using it.
If you deny access the first time but want to allow it later, you can change the setting during a video call:
  1. In the video call, go to the address bar in the Chrome browser.
  2. Click the camera icon with the X Video camera with X in Chromeon it.
  3. Click “Always allow plus.google.com to access your camera and microphone.”
  4. Click Done.
  5. Click Reload.

Can Non Google+ Users Join A Hangout On-Air

Initially when Google hangouts On Air launched, everyone who wanted to participate needed a Google+ profile or page to be able to hop into a live Hangout room.

Now though, anyone can join a Hangout On Air (inside the film-strip live on webcam and audio) and participate in the discussion, as long as they have a Google account https://accounts.google.com/

This means that non Google+ users are now able to join you inside your live Hangout On Air ...

Why is this important?  Because it will make it much simpler for people who have never been on a Hangout and those who do not (yet) have a Google+ account to join you on a hangout On Air.

Consider that you host live TV shows and bring on guests from around the world.  Previously you had to make sure they had a Google+ profile/page before you could invite them to join you on the Live broadcast...

Now, as long as they have a Google Account - they can join you with no need to setup a Google+ account (of course they will want to once they get the power of Hangouts and Google+)

This is a screen shot taken straight from Googles Help page Here: https://support.google.com/hangouts/answer/3110347

There's lots more information on the help page and the most important things to keep in mind are:

  • Anyone that has a Google account can join you in a hangout On Air 
  • To start a hangout On Air you will need a Google+ profile & YouTube channel

So what happens when you invite someone from outside Google+ to join you inside a Hangout On Air?

Here are the steps and what they will see:

Simply start your hangout and copy/paste the hangout url for them to click and join you.

When they click it, if they are not currently logged into the Google account, they will be prompted to login.

Once logged in a prompt to allow hangouts to use their webcam and audio is show:

After allowing access to their webcam and mic they will be taken to the Hangout room to join it the same as they would if they were joining you from a Google+ account

Here's the kicker!  If you simply gave them the URL from inside the hangout they will have gone through all those steps only to find out that they are NOT allowed to join the Hangout room.  Owch!

So what do you do?  

The key to making sure this does not happen, is you MUST invite them to the hangout from inside the hangout room, before they will be able to join (Google really have considered this haven't they, after all do you want people sharing your Hangout room URLs with anyone and people being able to just hop into your Hangout without an invite??)

When you send the invite the only difference in inviting people without a Google+ account to those with one, is that where you would normally add their name, you add their email address.  

Now you can either let them find the invite in their inbox and click the link OR you can send them the Hangout room URL and they will follow the steps above and be able to join you.

So is there any point of having a G+ account to use Hangouts in the future?

Yes absolutely there is - (we all know the benefits of Google+) but for the person joining you in the Hangout the difference between joining a Hangout with and without a Google+ account is what they can do and see when they are inside the Hangout room.

  • Non Google+ users will only have the screenshare and the chat apps available 
  • No option to add any other apps for the non G+ user
  • No option to start their own Hangout On Air without a Google+ account

This new opportunity is though, going to open up Google Hangouts in a big way, especially for first time or occasional users who want to join but not create their own Hangouts On Air, and it simplifies everything for the host of the Hangout too, as you no longer need to tell people they MUST have a Google+ profile to join a hangout on air.......

If you would like to learn more about using hangouts on air and all the different ways they can help you to raise your visibility, engage and build strong relationships and take your business to the next level.  Come and join us as a Hangout Professional