Social Networks

Google Hangouts, the group videoconferencing part of Google+, has attracted some of the most creative minds on the Web – and these folks are putting their ingenuity to good use. One of the first out of the gate is Bruce K. Garber and his friends from the Southern New England Media Makers. They captured this video of their group videoconference by using Camtasia Studio and uploaded this video to Youtube. The sound quality is surprisingly clear considering that they were using the condenser mics built into their webcams. I’m wondering how clear their audio would sound if they each used a USB microphone, such as a USB Logitech headset or a Snowball microphone. Here are the other participants in this video chat.


Free Tools for Recording Google+ Hangouts

Google+ Hangouts are proving one of the most popular features of the new social networking service, but there’s no built-in option to record them. Until Google adds such functionality, we’ve found five workarounds to help you record your next Hangout — free.

Take a look through the gallery for our five tested suggestions — which vary from quick and simple browser-based options to more advanced software downloads — and let us know in the comments any alternate ways you’ve recorded your Hangouts.

1. ScreenCastle


A very easy to use option, ScreenCastle gives you the ability to record your entire screen, or to change the size of the recording box by pixel dimensions. An unlimited service, ScreenCastle will tape from the moment you hit record until you’re ready to stop. You then have to upload your recording to the site.

There are various sharing options open to you — a direct link to watch the video, an embed code to put it on your site, and a direct link to the FLV file. ScreenCastle also auto-generates a preview image of your footage — very handy indeed.

2. Pixetell


Once downloaded, Pixetell sits at the middle top of your screen as a small black icon. When you’re ready to record, just hover over the icon and select “record screen.” It will automatically select the most forward window you have open, but you can adjust this either by clicking on another window, or changing the size of the record box.

While in record screen mode, Pixetell adds a round menu bar to your display, which lets you pause, stop, etc. Once recording, it shrinks down to a tiny, unobstrusive timer. When you stop the recording, the Pixetell player window opens.

You can then review your clip as well as explore the share and export options. Pixetell offers direct uploading to YouTube. As far as exporting goes, you can grab your files in FLV, AVI, MOV, OGV and WMV formats. Although it’s such a fantastic tool, screen recording is just one string in the Pixetell bow — we’d recommend checking it out.

3. Screenr


Screenr is slick, smooth and social. There’s one catch — it only lets you record for up to five minutes. Recording is browser-based and instantaneous, and you can resize the recording window to suit.

Once your five minutes is up, you can add a description to your clip, then sign into Screenr via one of your social media accounts for built-in sharing to Facebook and Twitter, the option to publish to YouTube, to generate an embed code, or to share the Screenr URL directly. As far as downloads go, you can save the MP4 file down to your computer.

Nifty tools include the ability to subscribe to a Screenr user’s RSS feed or add a Screenr bookmarklet to your toolbar for quick-start recordings. Pro accounts range from $19 to $289, but even the most expensive option still limits recordings to 15 minutes.

4. BB FlashBack Express


FlashBack Express from Blueberry Software is a free download for Windows users. Although the program looks a little dated, it certainly gets the job done.

It’s made up of two parts — the recorder and the player. The recorder opens in a familiar-looking window and gives you the option to record your full screen, an area within a draggable box, or just a browser window (which is particularly handy for Hangouts). Once you’ve recorded your clip, you can then view it in the player. You might find the basic edit options handy, like the ability to upload directly to YouTube or to export your video as Flash (both SWF or FLV) or AVI.

The best bit about FlashBack Express is that there’s no recording time limit other than that allotted by your free disk space. Standard and Pro editions are also available for £55 (approx $90) and £124 (approx $200).




A browser-based option, Screencast-O-Matic is simple to use and comes tried, tested and recommended. Once you’ve hit the “start recording” button, you can resize the window to fit your Hangout — just press the red record button and then hit “done” when you’re finished.

Then you can download the clip, or upload it to the S-O-M site or YouTube. Download video options include MP4, FLV (Flash) or AVI. The free version limits recordings to 15 minutes. Recordings have a Screencast-O-Matic logo on the bottom right of the video. If you want to lose the logo you can upgrade to Pro for just $12 a year, which also gives you advanced editing options. It also means your recording time is limited only by local disk.


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