Google Hangout meetings
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The Wikimedia Foundation uses Google Hangout to help facilitate participation of remote staff. This guide acts as a quick start for anyone wanting to host their meeting in the WMF San Francisco office with remote participants. These steps may be useful for other locations and software but the guide does not mean to cover them.
There are two conference rooms on the third floor that are equipped for Google Hangout: R31 & R37. Inside each room you will find the following equipment
- Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920
- Logitech x140 Speakers
- Yeti microphone
- USB Hub
All three devices should already be placed in their ideal location but feel free to adjust if someone has moved them or if your meeting requires a different layout.
If you have never been in a hangout before; download the necessary plug in
- Go to hangouts.google.com
- select [join] and you will be prompted to install the required plug in
The best way to set up a google hangout is from your calendar using an invite.
- In google calendar Click on the day and time when you want to have the meeting
- Select [Edit Event]
- Fill out the form that comes up
- Add the room – this is on the right hand side
- Add guests – this is on the right hand side
- if you have never had a hangout with this person make sure that they have downloaded/do download the necessary plug in
- (optional) Ask that they please use a headset with mic for better sound quality.
- Select [Add a Google+ hangout]
- A popup window will ask “Send invitations?”
- Select [Send]
- Go to the room 10-15 minutes early to check equipment and set up ensure you have the following:
- Webcam - if needed for multiple participants in the room
- Mic - if needed for multiple participants in the room
- USB hub - if your laptop does not have enough USB ports
- A direct Ethernet connection- this is a must, otherwise video and sound are choppy for participants
- if you need a USB/ethernet adapter make sure it is available as well
- Adapter for the projector if needed
WHEW you are ready to start
Starting the meeting
- Make sure everything is connected
- Open the calendar event you created for this meeting
- select [Join Google+ hangout]
- select [Join] if asked
- In the upper right of the window is a cog this is your settings – select it
- In the first drop down menu select the Logitech webcam
- In the second drop down menu select the microphone (yeti if connected)
- In the third drop down select the speakers (usb speakers if connected)
- you don't need to do anything with the fourth drop down
- select [Save Settings]
- Your meeting is now going.
- Ask the remote participants if there are any problems at the beginning of the meeting
- Table noise is distracting and often earsplitting
- Don’t tap on the table
- Set coffee cups down lightly
- Limit paper shuffling
- Side conversations are very disruptive
- participants in the room should step out if they need to have a conversation
- In room participants who need to be in the hangout must MUTE their mics
- Otherwise there is terrible feedback for participants
- Make sure all in room participants are in view of the webcam.
It doesn't sound right
The Yeti mic is exceptionally good at audio pickup but occasionally it needs to be tweaked. You will find two nobs on the mic. One is for audio gain (generally not needed) and the other is the type of room the device is in (very useful) . Make sure the mic is set to "omnidirectional" ... the giant 'O' For a complete description of what each mode means check out the manual.
Video is choppy
Make sure you're on a wired connection. Wireless is not reliable enough to run hangout. Always use a wired connection. If your laptop doesn't have an ethernet port then use the provided USB -> Ethernet dongle.
I don't know how to start hangout
The best way to solve this is to always have a hangout pre-configured for your meeting. You never know when someone will be remote so its best to just have it set. To do this read "Starting the meeting" Now that you have it set you can simply pull up your calendar before the meeting. Navigate to the meeting and select 'Join hangout'
If you don't have a pre set hangout then you'll have to create one ad hoc. To do that log into your google account. Select '+' . In the left column select hangout. and then 'Start a hangout'.