Google Hangouts is an awesome product, but thus far it has been limited to users who have a Google account. This makes some sense, being a Google product and all, but there are some people who don’t have an account and don’t want one. Equally, there are those quick spontaneous meetings that pop up where you don’t want people wasting time logging into their accounts, you just want to get them on board.
From today, Google Hangouts is open to anyone, Google account or not. Google believe that joining a Hangout should be as simple as walking into a room. This comes with a ‘Google at Work’ focus, so the workflow for inviting guests to your meeting looks like this:
- Create a Google Calendar invite for your meeting, and invite external guests — make sure you pop their email addresses in
- Your guests will receive a Calendar invite, which includes a Hangout link they click on, which prompts them to fill out their name
- As an added precaution, the moderator of the session will have to accept/deny guest entries to the meeting. You’ll also retail standard moderation functions — muting users, removing users, etc.
It’s a nifty feature, and one which Google thinks will increase the uptake of their already popular video conferencing service.