The feature on Google Plus helps students especially those in remote areas, have access to quality education.

A Hangout is the best way to connect with people eliminating the problem of being present at particular locations. The sole purpose of launching Google Plus Hangout (GPH) is to make communication easier and include real life sharing in the process. What was earlier perceived as just another video chat platform, GPH went ahead to deliver an exhaustive hangout, promising to be different. Since its launch, Netizens have found multiple uses for it — education being one. We give you a detailed tour of this platform. Read on to know more about this feature.

Google Plus Hangout

Launched in June 2011, Google Plus is the fastest growing social network — with more than 500 million people, who have upgraded, 235 million are active across Google and 135 million are active in just the stream. While Google Plus is all about creating a better experience across Google, it’s also a destination. Hangouts are virtual rooms where you can video chat with people in your circles, with up to 10 people participating at a point in time. You can later share the Hangout on YouTube or live stream it using Hangouts on Air. Google has ceaselessly worked to improve its social networking venture Google Plus and increase the user engagement on the site. Anyone with an internet connection and a PC/laptop with a camera and mic can use a Google+ Hangout. Starting a Hangout is easy, not to mention it’s free! Just create a Google+ account, and click the “Start a Hangout” button. The technical aspects of Google+ Hangouts — a one-time installation of supporting software and identifying your webcam and audio inputs — are extremely basic and intuitive. Once you’ve started a Hangout, up to 10 different users or groups of individuals at one location can join the Hangout and multi-video-chat and collaborate.

Best feature

The USP of the feature is that you can connect with nine people at a time without being physically present at the place. A Hangout promises you seamless sharing without the limitation of a location. One can also live stream the Hangout using ‘Hangout on Air’ so that a large audience can view it.

The most obvious use is to take a class without having to be in various locations at the same time. It is perfect for multi-campus institutes where there is perhaps only one teacher for a specialised discipline but a few students in various campuses interested in learning or for that matter for sick or travelling students who are not able to attend the class. College students can use the Hangout for various purposes — recruitment chats; collaborating for research projects and career guidance from their alumni. It is also a relevant tool for e-education, where students from remote regions can log in for classes being held at a different geographic location. All they need is internet connectivity.

The reach

The platform is being used by expert teachers from across the world to reach out to children in villages and small towns that don't have access to quality education. Kolhapur-based Samaritan Help Mission and Snehalaya have taken to the Internet to ensure quality education to children. Over the last few months, remote education systems have been set up using Google + Hangout that allow students access to expert teachers from Mumbai, Pune and London.

In 2012, Google Plus launched the Women Entrepreneurs on the Web (WEOW) programme in India, as a targeted business diversity programme for women entrepreneurs which aims to help women-owned businesses grow their online presence. Bangalore-based Archana Doshi, a foodie, has been leveraging the power of Google+ to help others with recipes. In her twice-a-month classes on Google Hangout, students from India and abroad participate.

It is the best possible alternative for students who are keen on learning, but are deprived of schools in their respective districts. With the help of these NGOs, we have started an initiative to educate these kids. Over the past few months, remote education systems have been set up using Google Plus Hangout that allow students access to expert teachers from Mumbai, Pune and London.