Possibly the biggest differentiator at present between Google Plus and other social networks are Hangouts – the chance to video conference at the click of a button with up to 20 other G+ users. Hangouts are moving forwards quite quickly now as the G+ developers and third parties realise the benefits of making recording G+ Hangouts a one click process with Hangouts On Air.

The Dalai Lama, the Muppets and a few others were the first to be permitted to record their Hangouts On Air, and now the facility to do so is being extended more widely. Hangouts On Air is being turned on initially for celebs, public figures and those with large G+ followings, but it is likely that a full rollout will not be far behind. The really cute feature is that once the Hangout is finished, a private video clip will be uploaded to your account at YouTube.

For businesses and marketers, this new feature, once available to all, offers an infinite number of possible uses to reach a wider audience, to offer one on one training sessions, for recorded customer support ‘calls’, to archive webinars, to preserve fascinating discussions, meetings or focus groups – the list truly is endless.

Until this feature is rolled out fully by Google to all G+ users, there are plenty of other options for recording Hangouts, such as Camtasia, Camstudio (an Open Source version of Camtasia) and Fraps (which avid gamers will know for recording their gaming moves).

The benefits of Hangouts for businesses do not yet seem to be being explored by many businesses, large and small, and yet the content and collaboration and discussions created within Hangouts by those who do use them can be seen all over G+. Are you using Hangouts? For what purposes? Have you experienced any problems? What do you feel is the potential for this type of application within your business?

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About the author:

A practising internet marketing consultant since 1996, Lindsey Annison helps companies improve their website marketing, online PR and information architecture. Lindsey is also a qualified adult education lecturer and author. As co-founder of the Access to Broadband Campaign, she has been instrumental in the provision of high-speed internet access to rural areas in the UK. Lindsey is also a past winner of Silicon.com's Outstanding Contribution to UK Technology