Monday, July 25, 2016

Call me using your computer for a video chat: Here's how

Phone calls are great, but sometimes it is better to actually see each other, and share monitor desktops together without driving across town or flying across the country!  We can use Google Hangouts to create a video conference between your computer and mine!


Use Your Laptop

If you have a fairly new laptop, it probably has built-in speakers, microphone, and webcam.

Optional (Not required with your laptop, but useful)
  • A second (external) video monitor.
  • External speakers, depending on volume and quality of the built-in speakers.

Use Your PC

If you have a desktop PC, either  a Windows PC or an Apple PC, then you need to add the speakers, microphone and camera that come with laptops today.
  • (Minimum) Speakers and Microphone
    [Or] headset with microphone
  • (Optional) Speakers, Microphone, and Web cam
  • (Best) Speakers, and Web cam with built-in Microphone
I've had great success with Logitech these webcams:
  • Logitech C270 - I bought it on sale at Best Buy in July for $19.99 - skipped Amazon.com ($25)
  • Logitech C310 - bought it from Best Buy over a year ago. The Best Buy price today is ($35). 
    The C310 is also available from Amazon ($32)
  • Logitech C615 - this looks attractive for both price and capabilities. Available from Best Buy ($37 - on Sale last week in July) and Amazon ($37).

Use Google Hangouts
With: Laptop, PC - Windows or Apple

  • Required: GMail.com account for Google.
    Start by logging into either Gmail.com or your Google account page.
I prefer Google Hangouts because you do not have to install any software on your computer. You can used the Internet browser of your choice.

Procedure:
  1. Launch Google Hangouts (https://hangouts.google.com/); I consider Chrome as the best browser because Chrome is a Google Product and Hangouts is a Google web application. However,  I have successfully used IE and Firefox.
  2. Initiate a video call,
    Screen Snippet of Google Hangouts
  3. Invite someone by typing in their GMAIL address and click "Invite."
    (My gmail address is RickJaggers@....) 
Dialog Box to invited people to a video chat
It really is this easy!

Thanks, BTW, to Adam Lopez from teaching me this skill!

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