Well, I tried hosting my first ever proper Google Hangout - that's to say, one which had a particular purpose, rather than just being around and chatting at random. I decided on the idea of telling a ghost story, and thinking about it, using the hangout is a new way of doing an old thing - gathering a bunch of friends together and swopping stories. It really *did* feel like the gentleman's smoking club that I imagine of old.
FIrst thing to remember though - don't, whatever you do, under any circumstances, ever ever ever make it public. Instead of the nice quiet smoking club you end up trying to tell a story to a few people in the middle of a nightclub. People pop in and then pop out again, and since you're limited to a total of 10 (including yourself) it's really a drive by existance, and not one which is condusive to indepth chat or for which you've got a purpose. It's particularly annoying when you get morons like Mike Smith who come on in and start to hang out in ways that you hadn't intended! Sometimes I'm so innocent it's painful; I really didn't expect that - on chat roulette sure, but not on Google+ where you're vaguely identifiable. This showed a real limitation in the service - I was theoretically the room 'owner' but I couldn't throw the guy out. Apparently it takes everyone in the room to click to ban someone before the person is chucked, so it only needs two people who want to be a nuisance to really wreck a room. Most other resources take care of this so much better, and Google is shockingly lax and behind it's painful.
However, once I closed the room and then reopened it, limiting it to just my circles (and there's another Google+ limitation - once a room is public you can't make it private and automatically chuck out anyone who isn't in one of your circles) it was much, much better. There ended up being about 5 of us, and that worked really well - I could share my screen, which then meant I was able to show pictures of the haunted building, and I also played sound clips as well, which seemed to work to effect.
Overall, I was pleased with what I could do. As usual with Google, they have good ideas, which are poorly executed, and this is another example. I would suggest that if you're hosting a hangout, it's worth creating a circle of people that have expressed an interest, and limiting it to just those people. So it's a bit of work to create, but it's a lot easier than other tools that I've seen. I certainly intend to do something similar again.