New and Improved Google Hangouts: One More Reason to Use Google+

By Michelle Doty | May 29, 2013
More Articles by Michelle

First, as a member of the Social Team at an SEO/ online marketing agency, it would be fairly negligent of me not to champion Google’s oft-maligned social network for its genuine SEO importance—I mean, it’s owned by Google. For all of the talk surrounding the increasing value of social indicators for search, we’d be naïve to think that the search engine giant’s personal social network would be left out of the equation. At minimum, having an up-to-date, fully optimized, keyword-heavy, image-heavy, and active (posting a couple times each day) Google+ page will help your brand get a more detailed Knowledge Graph showing in search. And if you’re still not quite convinced, be sure to take a look at our Google+ Business Benefits infographic to learn about even more benefits to your business.

With the preaching out of the way, the main purpose of this post was to introduce the new Hangouts, and get you to simply try them out. Hangouts replaces Google Talk, Google+ Messenger, and Google+ Hangouts’ classic video chats, providing the integrated messaging platform that Google had been missing.  There are so many features that make me think this could actually be the catalyst that changes the average individual’s perception of Google+ and leads them to start taking it seriously as a social network—we’ll just have to see if Google can push all of its Gmail/ Android users to get on board…

What Hangouts has going for it is its cross-device functionality and full Google+ integration. Using the App—available on Android, Chrome, and iOS currently—users finally have all of the features we’ve come to expect from our favorite messaging platforms (emojis!), with a few extras—like seamless transition from group chat to video chat with up to 10 people.

If you haven’t started exploring the new features, I suggest you make it a priority this week… if for no other reason than testing some fun Hangouts hacks. Just type the following into your Hangout and see what happens (it’ll be the highlight of your day):

  • /ponies
  • /pitchforks
  • /ponystream
  • /bikeshed
  • /shydino

Google Hangout ponystream screenshot

A new favorite game to keep us on our toes at Search Mojo has been “/ponystream and /bikeshed battling” combined with “spot the /shydino  contests.” Another great game to keep your creative mind nimble is thinking up ways to use all 850 hand-drawn emoji over the course of a week (or day, depending on how bold you want to be in your weekly goal-setting).

Google Hangouts Farm Animals Emojis

But in all honesty, Google Hangouts have some very real benefits for the workplace, with its real-time messaging and video conferencing abilities. And Hangouts on Air has real potential for adding that human touch to customer communications for companies that haven’t yet figured out how to make that happen with existing communication tools.

I could go on about all of the cool features of Hangouts (and Google+ itself), but implore you to start exploring the features yourself… let me know what you think by tweeting @mdough_tea or commenting below! And for anyone who’s already using Hangouts, what’s your favorite feature?

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