Mobile Tech Useful stuff

Enabling Hangouts for Google Apps users

You may have heard that Google launched a unified messaging app/service called Hangouts yesterday at Google I/O 2013. Hangouts works in Chrome as an extension as well as within Google+ (which also received a revamp). Interestingly, you can also download the Hangouts app on to your Android and iOS device too (iPhone and iPad). The result is a relatively cross-platform messaging option which requires you to be a Google+ user (a little catch).

I installed the app on my iPhone and iPad, lamented the lack of multi-account support, was corrected and then discovered I couldn’t add my Google Apps accounts (my two work accounts). I did a quick search and discovered that you need to enable this in your Apps settings first and thought I’d show you how in this post.

First, you need to enable the feature in your Apps dashboard

Step 1:

Step 2:

You then see this:

Next, open your iOS app and add your accounts

I used my iPad for this demo but the same options are available in the iPhone version. To get started, tap the gear cog in the top left of the app screen and go into your Settings.

Once in settings it is pretty easy:

You may see some other stuff in settings when you first open the Settings panel. The panel simplifies once you have added a second account (the settings that disappear from the main panel are shifted to individual account level settings).

When you add your accounts, you will need to do the following:

  1. Sign in with your username (email address) and password;
  2. If you have 2 factor authentication enabled, you will be prompted for a PIN;
  3. You will be asked for your mobile phone number (you can skip this) which is presumably associated with your account as with iMessage and WhatsApp (pick your country from the list and add your phone number);
  4. You’ll receive a one time PIN to the number you supply (if you supply a mobile phone number), enter that and proceed;
  5. You may be prompted to add a profile photo if this process activates Google+ for your Apps account.

Once complete, you have a handy drop-down to enable you to switch between accounts:

You’ll need to do this with each device (which is a bit of a pain).

Business and work Social Web

Google Plus numbers: Not bad for a 1 year old ghost town

It turns out I am not the only person in South Africa using Google+ (well, it’s not news to me, I use Google+) and, today, Google released some useful numbers about it’s service, which turns 1 tomorrow. Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice-President of Social Business for Google, announced these numbers at Google I/O which kicked off today:

  • 250 million Google+ users worldwide;
  • 150 million of these users sign on once or more each month;
  • 75 million Google+ users sign in daily;
  • On average, Google+ users spend about 12 minutes in Google+ (presumably per visit).

Twitter (which I think is a more appropriate competitor for Google+ than Facebook given how I see people using Google+) has the following numbers on it’s site:

These are the most recent Twitter figures I could find and seem to date back to March 2012. Twitter is over six years old.

I know I sound like an mp3 on repeat (sorry, a fair number of people reading this might not get record player references) but these are not small numbers for a service which is being described as a ghost town. Twitter fans will talk about the simplicity of the 140 character tweet but Twitter really hasn’t been that simple 140 character service for quite some time now. Twitter resembles a stripped down Google+ hanging on to it’s simpler origins by it’s fingernails. If it does all you want from this sort of service then that’s fine. I still use Twitter a fair amount too (ok, that sounded a bit like “some of my best friends use Twitter”) and it is where a substantial number of people in my community are. That means it is a space I still frequent but that is the only reason I am still active on Twitter.

When it comes to meaningful engagement, Google+ is streaks ahead. 140 character text posts were the next best thing since TCP/IP a couple years ago but with smart devices able to handle more than just text, richer ways to share stuff and interact are far more useful. Announcements like Google+ Events immediately make Google+ a better option for events (well, for the most part) and the new tablet apps must do good things for user engagement (the iPad app has apparently been submitted to the iStore and I can’t wait!).

No, you don’t have to use Google+ and if it satisfies your needs then don’t feel like you have to explore another social service. Just the same, try restrain yourself from complaining about it without actually using it for more than 5 minutes. Google messed up with Buzz but this is far from Buzz, this actually seems to be working pretty well and the indications are that Google+ may actually continuing growing and evolving, despite me being a big fan (again).

If you are a little curious about this exciting little ghost town, circle me/follow me/get in touch: