We use Google Hangout all the time to conduct calls with employees, service providers, customers and pretty much anyone. It’s a great tool, and in our opinion more friendly to group chatting than anything else we’ve found.
BUT… There was a problem
At some time in the recent past, Google disabled our ability to invite people from outside the SolarWinds Database Performance Monitor (DPM)
domain into a hangout. The only way around this was to invite a user’s Google+ account to a calendar invite and tell them to remember to join the calendar request with that same email. That process was complicated, and buggy. It made us mad. We made many customers wait. Just last week, our board waited 15 minutes trying to figure it out. We’re very sorry.
We were about to switch service because it was such a horrible experience. We found the solution buried in Google Apps support docs.
Solution: Disable Google+ Premium Features
To disable Hangouts restricted to your organization
If you’d like to keep Hangouts that have a public URL, you will need to disable Google+ Premium features in the Admin console.
- Sign in to the Google Admin console.
- Click Other Google Services > Google+. Where is it?
- Click Google+ Premium features.
- In the Google+ Premium features section, select Disable Google+ Premium features.
- This will allow you to have Hangouts video calls that can be accessed by external participants without explicit invitation.
Not a solution
Obviously we’ll never switch to premium features (the main one being support of 15 people instead of 10) if our Google Hangout experience became this horrible again.
I highly recommend Google Apps user disable Google + Premium features to avoid similar problems.
We avoid web conferencing legacy vendors at all cost.