As a ‘Work At Home Mum’ I find myself using video conferencing more and more often, particularly Google+ Hangouts.
I never really took to Skype, but loved Google+ Hangouts from the first time I was invited to join one. The picture and sound always seemed to be good quality, and as soon as they ironed out the original wrinkles (like picking up background noise too easily) it was a great way to keep in touch with clients and friends.
The one issue I had was that I rarely had enough spare time to do just one thing at a time. With two young children to also care for there were many dinners to make, school bags to unpack, toddlers to dress, and fights to break up.
The Hangouts app seemed like a much more mobile solution, which really appealed to me.
The app was quick and easy to download, and simple to use. It’s JUST for Hangouts (there’s none of the other Google+ features) so there’s no messing about; from the home page you simply click the + sign in the top right corner to start a new Hangout from your contacts and circles.
It literally took just seconds to pick my guests, then select Video Call, and start dialling. I thought the iPhone screen might have been a bit small for group conversations, but it wasn’t at all! Each person’s image was surprisingly clear.
I loved the mobility of using my phone, as opposed to the laptop I usually used. Instead of having to cut a call short, I found myself finalising the details of my upcoming blog makeover with my designer, while simultaneously herding my children out the door to their swimming lesson (I know all you Mums can relate to the crazy multi-tasking!).
I also liked the way I could opt to send a message to my Hangout buddies, instead of a video call. Great for when you just want to fire off a quick message, or for when not everyone is online, as they can pick it up when they do eventually log on.
The only problem I encountered was the fact that not everyone is using Google+ yet, so I was restricted by who I could ‘hang out’ with. Although the app synchs with your phone contacts, and will conveniently prompt anyone not already signed up, to do so.
All in all, I loved the app and can definitely see myself using it again.
Jacqui Paterson blogs at www.MummysLittleMonkey.com
You can also find her on Twitter: @Jax2000