The Power of Google+ and Google Hangouts On Air #fsi2014 (Notes)

These are notes from the session “The Power of Google Plus and Google Hangouts On Air for Every Discipline” by Joanne Manaster (@sciencegoddess) from FSI 2014.

“If you approach Google+ as another Facebook, you will be disappointed” – Guy Kawasaki, What the Plus! Google+ for the Rest of Us

Google gives preferential treatment in searches for Google+ profiles – use your tagline and the first sentence of your description for the keywords you want to be known for. Joanne uses Google+ for networking, learning, & engaging. She shares stories about science, STEM education, and literacy.

Circles – collections of people who you follow (they may or may not follow you). You can follow individuals or entire circles

Communities – built around themes, create and keep private (use for courses)

Events – schedule group conversations and hangouts

Pages – create and manage on topics

Places – find information about local attractions & businesses (if they have a Google+ page)

Get Known

Connect & Build authority on Google+, a powerful place for dialog and engagement. Some topics will spark “flame wars” (like evolution, vaccination, etc.)

Be Generous

  • +1 posts to show approval (same as liking something on FB or favoriting on Twitter)
  • Comment to join discussion
  • Share – pass on stories you find to your followers
  • Be sure to HT (hat tip)


  • Search engine optimization – Google helps you to be found in search results
  • Google + can help ensure people find the real you

Benefits – why use?

  • K-12
    • Unlike Facebook and other networking sites, Google+ is not blocked in schools
    • Might be able to show a YouTube video on Google+ even though YouTube is blocked at a school
    • Sophisticated features like Circles & Hangouts
    • No ads & user friendly interface
    • Unlimited photo storage through Picasa
    • Provides high privacy measures
    • Includes a YouTube search bar
  • Higher Ed
    • Organize groups for collaboration
    • Support information exchange by sharing your Circle with others
    • Create circles of experts or facilities and entities of interest to the course
    • Use Hangouts
    • Caution – watch for FERPA concerns
    • Meet & connect before a course starts


  • Hangouts are free tool that allows you to connect via voice & video
  • Unlimited people can watch (if you make it public)
  • Up to 10 people can participate live (audio & video)
  • Include a Question button for others watching who aren’t one of the lucky 10
  • On Air – broadcast & record
  • If you limit it to a Circle of students, the recording is unlisted in YouTube
  • Screenshare during Hangout
  • Share a video for everyone to watch during Hangout
  • Write collaboratively with Google Drive during Hangout
  • Search & share information during Hangout
  • App for phone (participate from anywhere)
  • May be blocked in some countries
  • Use Cases:
    • Fraser Cain’s Virtual Star Party:
    • Virtual field trips (bring a webcam somewhere that students can’t go) – sign up as classroom or organization
  • Why not Skype?
    • Free
    • Up to 10 people
    • Screenshare
    • Record & broadcast
  • Why?
    • Broadcast & archive
    • Share screens
    • Record discussions
    • Resource for others
    • Build a portfolio
  • What do you need?
    • Google+ Account (auto with gmail)
    • Host must connect to YouTube channel
    • Everyone must have Hangout plugin
    • Consider using Chrome as browser (not required, but may be glitchy with other browsers)
    • Can also get mobile app
    • Webcam, built in or plug in
    • Microphone (built in ones work well)
    • Wifi for streaming video
    • Earphones or buds to reduce echoing
  • Tips:
    • Put timezone in description
    • Must set up Q&A BEFORE broadcast
    • Make public or limit to a circle
    • Add a banner if you have branding for the event
    • Check the duration! The Hangout will stop when it reaches the limit
    • Only the host can start the broadcast & recording
    • Add a banner with your name & tagline

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s