Google Cloud Apps Admins

Using The New Google Hangouts for Business

Written by Christopher Alghini (Senior Cloud Strategist) | November 25, 2013

Google’s commitment to its new Hangouts was underlined by recent enhancements and changes to the application. The information released by Google’s Apps Team introduced enhanced features for the new Google Hangouts that make their administration and use easier. The Team also fully supports Hangouts as of the announced update.

In simplest terms, this app is intended to encourage and facilitate group conversations. As another social media platform, the emphasis is on creating a focal point for individuals with similar and relevant interests, including everything from business associates to friends to hobbies.Combining a number of attributes from early messaging programs up to Pinterest, Hangouts seeks to make conversations easy, responsive and engaging. Users know when messages have been read and are alerted to messages received when not online.

The Google Hangouts App works across devices, allowing the user to continue conversations from office PC to smartphone to tablet, whether Apple or Android. There is a focus on sharing of photos and other information, and an update of the emoticon with emoji.

Live video calls (currently limited to 10 users) and phone calls are supported and conversations are captured with the ability to track back and revisit earlier messages and conversations.  The overall effect intended is to create live, sharing, digital conversations, using text, audio and video interactions. Google has committed to continuing enhancements of Hangouts and seeks to make it a primary social media competitor.

The update and changes are now shown on all Rapid Release and Scheduled Release domains that have Google Hangouts enabled. They are visible within the admin console.

Summary of Changes in New Google Hangouts

Searching and finding for individuals with whom you want/need to communicate with is easier to accomplish. This is now accomplished within the GAL of the friend list that is a part of Hangouts. Those contacts with a higher relevance to the user will be more readily visible.

Aswith other core Google services, Hangouts is fully supported by our Google Apps support team.

New controls are given to administrators over chats within their domains.

  • Sharing:    Users are now allowed to chat outside the domain.

  • Invitation Auto-Accept:   Invitations between users within a specific domain can be set to automatically accept.

  • Voice and Video:   Users can now make voice and video calls from Hangouts. This includes making voice calls to phone numbers.

  • History:   Users have the ability to toggle conversation history default on or off.

Google Apps Admin Notes on the new Hangouts:

Users control the ability to toggle history on or off in any Hangout, regardless of admin control settings

Users are not provided with a warning when beginning a Hangout with users not in their domain if external sharing is allowed by admin.

 

Google Hangouts Admins: Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: How does this affect how Google Hangouts interfaces with Vault?

A: There is no change in the way Hangouts works with Vault. However, Use of Hangouts and Vault are both subject to the Google Apps Enterprise Amendment: Hangouts & Vault.

Q: Does making voice calls to phone numbers require Google Voice?

A: Yes, the user must use Google Voice to place voice calls.

Q: Can changes be made at the Organization Unit level?

A: Yes, a selection for ‘enabled group settings’ is available for each Organization Unit in your domain(s).

Q: How does this change what will be visible to users in their hangouts?

A: While the look and feel of Hangouts remains the same, users should notice the increased ease of finding relevant contacts.