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Article by Domain Support
As of late, those who do not have a Gmail account may access Google Hangouts, a popular web conferencing app by the search engine giant of the same name. While its user base is huge and is constantly growing, one group of people have always been turned away from using it – those without a Gmail account. While one can simply get around this by (you guessed it) making a Gmail account, it can be troublesome to those who wish to conference with others who do not have an account. Now, however, this is no longer an issue. Presumably in response to consumer complaints, Google has lifted the requirement of having a Gmail account when using the app, although users may still want to create an account to take advantage of all the app’s features.

How Does It Work?

While the organizers of Google Hangouts, sessions (or hosts, if you will) are still required to use a Gmail account, others joining the session don’t have to worry about whether or not they have an account. As long as the organizer sends the person in question an electronic invite, they are able to join the hangout in just a few clicks as a “guest.” These guests can join through any platform (of the web or mobile variety) with ease and without the hassle of creating a new account just to access a hangout or two.

Those without accounts who are invited as guests will have some limited privileges relative to everyone else. For starters, they won’t be able to join and sessions without an invite. While this isn’t a huge issue for formal web conferences, it’s still worth mentioning. Also, those without accounts will be unable to host hangouts or send invites to others who would log in as guests. For this reason, it is still probably a good idea for professionals to set up an account. If you need assistance go to the Help Center or contact us.

What Does This Mean?

Google Hangouts, while already an easy, convenient web conference app, just became a whole lot easier. Businesses are already using Google Hangouts for formal web conferences while more and more are jumping on the bandwagon all the time – and for good reason. With this step having been taken by Google, things just became a whole lot easier and, for that reason, we may see a lot more businesses switching to Google Hangouts. In contrast to many other similar apps which require use of the designer’s hardware (such as needing an iPhone or iPad to use Facetime), Google Hangouts is standing out among web conference apps as one of the best. If you haven’t tried Google Hangouts, now is definitely the time to do so.

New Chrome Extension

On August 31, 2016, a new version of the Google Hangouts Chrome extension will be made available to new users, available on Android, iOS, and the web in order to make it a simpler and more consistent experience joining group chats with your team with better group chat controls. Hangouts works best in the Chrome browser. However, you can use other browsers.

Hangouts on Air Discontinued

Hangouts On Air with YouTube Live will replace the original feature starting in September 2016 for live streaming events. The native Q&A feature, which was part of the bedrock of Hangouts on Air, is being discontinued; instead, Google wants broadcasters to use social media or the Q&A feature of Google Slides to field questions and communicate with viewers during live streams. Other features, like “Showcase” and “Applause” are also being cut.

Getting Started

If you want to get started begin here, read our tutorial post, or contact us.