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After some time in invite only beta, Google+ has become one of the fastest growing web services ever. One of the features that really separate the new social network from the pack is their feature called Hangouts. Hangouts allow users to get together with a group of friends and colleagues on a web camera, and as the name implies, hang out.
The feature that Google+ Hangouts lacks at the moment is being able to record what happens. This feature could be used to record web trainings, and meetings for future reference.
Since Google does not offer this on their own, users have to seek alternative third party recording solutions. Of course, being able to record by default would be great, but with the apps that follow, at least you can make it work, and make it work well.
ScreenCastle is a browser based recording solution. That means there is no need to download any software. It offers unlimited recording without having to spend a dime. It will record either the whole screen or just a selection of your choosing. It makes recording your Google+ Hangouts easy. Simply press record when you are ready to being, and stop when you are finished.
The application offers the ability to upload the video right to their site from the application for easy sharing. Once you are done recording and uploading the video to their site they give a direct link to watch your newly created video, an embed code and URL for the FLV video file.
Screenr is another browser based recoding solution. The problem is it only allows for five minutes of recording. If you are looking to film some longer hangouts, you may want to look elsewhere, but if length is not a concern, this is a great solution. It starts recording almost instantly and could not be easier.
Once your recording is finished you simply add a brief description and log in with one of your Twitter, Facebook or YouTube accounts to share it automatically. They also provide you with a URL to share any way you want, and you can download the MP4 file directly to your computer.
Jing is a free piece of software that must be downloaded to your computer. Jing supports Windows and Mac operating systems. Once you install the software, it will run quietly in the background. You can set up a key board short cut to take a screen cast, or click on the Jing icon to start capturing. Once you start the process of capturing, simply draw a box around the area you want to record and click capture video.
Jing will begin place a big countdown from 3 on the screen to let you know it is going to begin recoding. Jing limits recordings to 5 minutes with the free version. Once your 5 minutes is up, the recoding will end automatically, or you can stop the recoding manually if you need less than 5 minutes. You can save the video locally, or share it online via the built in service called ScreenCast. Once it is on ScreenCast you can share the URL with whomever you wish.
Screencast-O-Matic is another great browser based screen recording solution. It is super easy to use, and gets the job done exactly as advertised. All you have to do is head over to their website and click the big “Start Recording” button. Then set the box to the size of the Google+ Hangout you wish to record and press the red button to get the recording going. Once finished, click on “Done” and your Google+ Hangout will be ready to show off.
Once you are finished you can download your newly created video clip right to your computer or upload it to the Screencast-O-Matic website. You even upload it to YouTube right away. One thing that sets this one apart is that you can choose to make your videos in FLV, AVI or MP4, while most other programs limit to one video format.
The free version limits to 15 minutes of recoding time and adds a little Screencast-O-Matic logo to the bottom of each video. You can upgrade to pro version for $12.00 a year to remove the time limit and get rid of the watermark.
Pixetell is an installed program similar to Jing. Once you go to the developer website and download the program, it sits on your screen as a little icon. This allows for quick access when you need to record something. The program is smart, so when you start recording it will automatically select the window to the front, but if this is not the window you want to record, you can easily change it.
As soon as you start recording Pixetell adds a big circle to the middle of the screen to control your recording. You can pause and stop your recording from this control wheel.
When you are finished, Pixetell offers direct uploading to YouTube. Pixetell also lets you download your videos in a slew of formats such as FLV, AVI, MOV, OGV and WMV.
With all of these free tools, you should have no problem making sure you never lose those Google+ Hangouts. Now all your sessions on Hangouts can be stored away safely for future reference.
This guest post is written by Lior Levin, a marketing consultant for a company that offers psd to xhtml conversion, and for a ma in security degree program at the Tel Aviv University.Google+