Hangouts now work without Google+ account, Apps users get 15-person video chat

Gigaom

Google (S GOOG) really wants businesses to use its Hangouts video chat, and new changes make it easier for companies to actually do so: Hangouts can now be accessed with any Google account, even if the user doesn’t have a Google+ profile, and Google Apps customers can now chat with up to 14 other people in HD.

Moving away from requiring Google+ profiles for Hangouts will undoubtedly spur further speculations about the future of Google’s social network, but the move also addresses a real problem: Many Google users only have a Google+ profile for their personal account, but not for their work email — or if they have both, they’re likely just going to use one of them. Tying Hangouts to Google+ profiles not only complicated Hangouts usage, but actually also Google+ itself.

The 15-person upgrade could further help companies that have slightly bigger teams to give Hangouts a try…

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I’m Passionate about Writing!

Live to Write - Write to Live

Back when I did Master Coach training with Martha Beck, in 2008, she said something that still resonates with me: “Whatever you are passionate about, you should be doing something as a coach that relates to that topic.”

I am passionate about many things but one of the things I am most passionate about is writing. I write on life coaching topics but hadn’t thought about coaching about writing at that time. I started doing writing retreats with my writing group in Maine many years ago, and have continued to do them with groups of writing friends and local writers I hadn’t met yet. I’ve hosted “Write-In’s” for NaNoWriMo and, when I think about it, I’ve coached people during every writing event I ever hosted.

So now I’m taking this idea for a writing retreat and making it a little more formal. I’ve created a one-day writing retreat, in a…

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5 Reasons to Take a Drive Down Empire Avenue

Empire Avenue Tips

blogathonThis week Empire Avenue has been doing a blog-a-thon.  It’s a great idea to rally EAvers to blog about Empire Avenue and get some bring some additional visitors and publicity to their blogs, as well as to Empire Avenue.

Sounds like a win-win-win to me.

After more than 33 posts and 1200 posts, Empire Avenue Tips is one of the longest running blogs about Empire Avenue, so I couldn’t let this opportunity pass without contributing a post.

So, why am I still engaged in Empire Avenue after all all this time?

Here are 5 reasons…

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6 Ways to Get Your Tweets Noticed

Kamal Bennani Photography

Do people pay attention to your tweets?

Are you customizing your tweets for maximum attention?

About 500 million tweets are sent every day. That’s roughly 5,800 tweets posted each second. Competing with that is a challenge.

In this article you’ll discover six ways to improve your tweets and get noticed.

#1: Personalize Retweets

Many people like to tweet out blog posts they’ve read. The path of least resistance is to click the Tweet This! button on the post. Those widgets are usually pre-populatedwith the title of the article, the link and the handle of the website or author. You don’t have to do anything but hit the button!

Unfortunately, most people rely on the pre-populated text and move on. You can set yourself apart by adding your own opinion, question or other commentary to the tweet to give followers context.

Tell people if you agree or disagree with…

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FreedomPop starts selling tablets with free data and voice plans

Gigaom

FreedomPop’s freemium mobile voice and data services are available in mobile hotspots, home modems and smartphones, but until today there was one 4G device it hadn’t yet tackled: the tablet. On Wednesday, though, it will begin selling iPad minis and the Samsung Tab 3, both of which will come with its standard 500-MB, 500-SMS and 200-minute monthly plan at no cost.

The devices are refurbished Sprint(s s) tablets that will connect to that carrier’s LTE and CDMA networks. As a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), FreedomPop buys wholesale data from Sprint(s s) on which it builds its communications services. It gives users a small monthly pool of data, VoIP an IP SMS a to use or share with friends and then upsells its customers on additional usage and other features like VPN access, data compression and boosted network speeds.

The Samsung Tab 3, along with the iPad mini, will be the first two tablets FreedomPop will sell. The Samsung Tab 3, along with the iPad mini, will…

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