Google+ Hangouts – Now we’re talking!

January 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

Hangin' OutI’ve had my eye on Google+ for a while now, which you can read about here and here. While I’m a believer in Google, I really didn’t “get” Google+ until recently. With more people using it and providing more depth, its getting a lot more interesting.

I logged in the other day to make sense of Google+ Hangouts. One of my cohorts turned me on to this very cool and currently underused technology. Basically, Google+ Hangouts are like integrating Skype and GoToMeeting.com into your social network. At anytime, feel free to create a Hangout, invite your friends, and have a video/audio/chatroom gathering. The beauty of Hangouts is how easy it is to set-up and how easy it is to have a private (or public) meeting with your friends, family, co-workers, etc.

I’m really starting to like Google+ over Facebook much like how I started liking Facebook as an alternative to MySpace in 2008. Mind you, I have no misconceptions about the future demise of Facebook (can anyone say $100 billion IPO?) but I do believe that Google is trying very hard to keep their social network clean and credible. How often to you use Facebook to do research? If you’re like me, the answer is never. I use Google. Because of that, there is an implied sense that Google’s social network should be a higher quality resource to search for and retrieve information. One thing I really like about Google+ that I’ve mentioned in the past is their “Circles” concept. Mirroring your actual social circles, Google+ has made it easy to organize and categorize the people you connect with. While Facebook has added similar functionality, the Circles concept feels built-in and fundamental to Google+ whereas Facebook’s approach feels like a glommed on afterthought.

The Circles concept makes even more sense in the context of Hangouts. Want to conduct your fantasy baseball drafts online? Just create a Hangout, select your fantasy baseball circle, and viola! You’re quickly and easily negotiating. Want to create an online book club? Create a Hangout, select your book club circle, and there you go. Want to have coordinate a strategy meeting amongst co-workers across three offices in three different time zones? Create a Hangout, select your co-workers circle, and the rest is up to you.

Yes, Skype and and FaceTime have been around for a while but neither integrate so nicely with your social network like Google+ Hangouts. In addition to the standard features, keep your eyes open for extras such as screen sharing, shared notes, sketchpad, and Google Docs integration. How cool is that? To get started, click here and start hangin’ out.

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