Featured Article from Conferencing

Google+ Hangout for Videoconferencing

December 27, 2011

Last week, Telepresence Options hosted the second monthly Google+ Hangout for videoconferencing professionals. Google+ makes connecting on the web more like connecting in the real world. Regardless of whether you are home in your pajamas or hitting the streets with your mobile phone, video hangouts let you bring up to nine people into your world.

Hangout is now more prominent within the Google+ social network. Rather than just appearing as a status update that can be quickly missed if your Google+ feed is buzzing with activity, users will see a notification on the right side of the stream when a hangout is live. Google will also notify you by ringing your device when you are invited to a hangout.

While you’re in a hangout, whoever has the dominant voice will appear in the large window, and all the other video broadcasts will appear in smaller video stream windows at the bottom. This arrangement, of course, assumes that every hangout will remain civil. If two people speak at the same time, with nearly equal tone and volume, Google Hangout still chooses one to be front and center in the chat. Regardless, members of the hangout can manually adjust the layout by clicking on any of the smaller video broadcasts to see that stream in the largest window instead.

There are also several unique built-in features. One of them allows you to send text chats to the whole group in the hangout. Another cool feature allows users to click a button to access YouTube. Users can search for videos and then display them in the main screen for everyone in the hangout to view.

Telepresence Options used Google+ Hangout to discuss mobile videoconferencing. David Maldow, writer for Telepresence Options, said he was surprised when he logged into the service.

“I was attending the meeting both on my desktop and on the iPhone. We were all surprised at the quality of the video both to and from the phone, which was much better than expected. We did have some audio feedback when I used the phone which we were unable to troubleshoot, but the audio was still perfectly usable,” said Maldow.

Maldow said the topic shifted from mobile videoconferencing, to layout preferences for various use applications, to a number of other issues with insightful opinions being offered from all sides. Regardless, this insightful conversation would not have been possible without Google+’s free use on Google+’s new Hangout tool.

Edited by Rich Steeves