I’ve started to use Hangouts in Google Plus to collaborate with colleagues and it’s working really well, but last time I tried to share my screen, I got confused and it was embarrassing to not be able to look like I knew what I was doing (because I didn’t!). Can you show the fastest way to share my screen with my Hangout coworkers?
Truth be told, there are a lot of reasons that Facebook continues to have more traffic and a lot more attention in the popular zeitgeist than Google Plus. There’s a lot I like about Facebook, even over Google+. However, Hangouts are one of the very best parts of Google Plus and I too am a big fan of them — to the point where I’m toying with offering up my biz consulting services through Hangouts — whether it’s one on one or a half-dozen people trying to stay on topic and not share their favorite jokes!
As Hangouts have been used, they’re gaining more features and capabilities, tools that take a Hangout from being like a Skype video call or Apple Facetime call to something more sophisticated. Well, maybe “sophisticated” is the wrong word when you can give yourself a snorkel or tiara via a video overlay, but you know what I mean!
When you’re in a Hangout, pay attention to the left side of the screen. There are a number of different groupings of tools available, as you can see in this screen shot of the last multi-person discussion I was involved with:
“Chat” is the default choice, as you can see, and it lets you focus on the video stream of the person currently talking. “Screenshare” is what you want, but before we proceed, note “Hangout Toolbox”. There are a ton of fun capabilities – and a few useful ones – in that area, so I do recommend you explore just a bit.
To share your screen, however, move your cursor over Screenshare to cause a handy tip to pop up:
Click on it and a small window with two options appears:
Unlike more sophisticated conferencing tools like WebX, Google Plus Hangouts lets you choose between the current active window (your browser running the Hangout itself) and your entire Desktop, messy pile of app windows and all.
Since many people want to share what’s in a different window or different app entirely, I find that “Desktop” is the better choice, but if you want to, say, flip to a different tab in your Web browser but keep your desktop private, the latter could be a better choice.
I’ll choose “Desktop” and then pay attention to my self-monitoring small window along the bottom of the Hangout:
I’m the third thumbnail from the left (after Adam and Dan) and you can see that instead of seeing myself, I now have the rather recursive view of Adam again, along with my Web browser window and everything around it. Perfect!
If I were to start talking, the main window would switch to my computer screen – rather than my Webcam image – and I could explain to everyone what I was doing on the screen as I shared the information.
Surprisingly easy once you remember that switching doesn’t by itself make you front and center on the Hangout: you still have to get the virtual talking stick by starting to talk!
Done? Click on “Screenshare” again and it’ll revert to your usual Webcam view:
Hope that helps you out. As I said, I’m a big fan of the Hangouts, so would be happy to help out with other questions related to them too, as part of the extensive Google Plus help we have here on the site.