What I learned this week: Google+ hates me

The last couple of weeks, I've been spending much time and energy trying to better figure out Google+. Most specifically, I'm working on getting the hang of Google+ hangouts. Google+ hangouts are quite similar to Skyping, only it's super simple to have a large number of people join you. They're a fantastic way to participate in (or just watch) online interviews and information sessions on a variety of topics, as well as visit with friends and family.

Chloe from GenerationFabulous.com has been instrumental in encouraging all the Generation Fabulous members — of which I'm one — to hop aboard the Google+ train, and she led the first Google+ hangout I've joined. It was an opportunity for those of us who have never hanged out (or whatever the grammatically correct term might be) to try it in a low-stress atmosphere.

During that first hangout, Chloe taught me and some other newbies a thing or two, such as how to make our names show up during a hangout — especially handy for those of us who want to look professional when getting interviewed online. I've never been interviewed online (nor am I ready to be) but I followed her directions and now come across quite professional looking in a Google+ hangout. Well, at least the label does.

google hangout(The picture of Jim is there because I did this practice one with Jim to get shots for this post; hangouts require you to, well, hang out with someone. He didn't use video, so just his profile photo shows up.)

Chloe also showed us how to access nifty tools that make us look the opposite of professional. They're fun things that enhance the experience when participating in a hangout with grandkids, which is one of the more awesome reasons to figure out Google+ hangouts, if you ask me.

google hangout fun

I'd also like to figure out the hangouts so I can hang out with friends who are scattered across the country. I'd be happy to wear a crown or smiley face then, too.

There also are some fun sounds to make grandkids (and big kids) chuckle while hanging out:

google hangout sound effects

Also cool for hangouts with grandkids: The storytime feature in which you can choose a book from the bookshelf and read it aloud to kiddos watching and listening from their end.

google hangout story time

That's just a small snippet of Google+ hangouts and why I think they're pretty darn cool.

So why do I say Google+ hates me?

Well, because with all the cool things I could do with Google+ hangouts, my microphone doesn't work most of the time. I can Skype just dandy in the morning, but when I attempt a hangout in the afternoon, I sound like I'm underwater. Or I can't be heard at all.

I first thought it was a problem with my computer and my microphone, but it's not. Like I said, my mic works fine for Skype. It does not work fine for Google+ hangouts. And yes, I do have all the settings set correctly (I've checked... about 316 times). I've also replaced the audio drivers on my computer just in case... and my mic still doesn't work for Google hangouts. At least not most of the time.

I've searched and searched and searched for an answer online. Only to find a large group of equally unhappy folks with equally distressing problems when it comes to Google+ hangouts. It's not us, it's them. Meaning it's Google+.

Google+ hates us. For some unknown reason.

And that just plain stinks because I want so badly to play in Google+ hangouts. I so want to wear a pirate hat and patch while reading a story to Bubby and Mac. Or while enjoying a drink and some girl talk with faraway friends.

But I can't. Because Google+ hates me.

And that, unfortunately, is what I learned this week.

(I'm hoping what I learn by this time next week, though, is how to make my mic always work in the hangouts. I'm not giving in to the Google+ hate that easily. Stay tuned.)

Today's question:

What did you learn this week?