G Plus Hangouts and Hangout Canopy

So tonight I participated in my second G Plus Hangout. For those who are not on G+ and are not familiar with what a hangout is, it is a video chat with up 10 google plus users. Sunday was the first time I had joined one and I thought the interface was both engaging and smooth. As a result I have been keeping an eye on my stream for others to join.

Tonight after the kids were in bed I saw that someone my circles had started a hangout and was kind enough to invite me. I joined. I was immediately added to this hangout with 7 people. All very much interested in sharing dialogue and experiences that they have had both on Google + and Facebook. It was a great experience. As we were talking someone mentioned Hangout Canopy a new extension for the chrome browser that allows you to see what public hangouts are happening at that moment. I literally had just bookmarked the site to download the extension at a later time when Robert Pitt the Developer popped in to say hi and mention his extension.

If you are on google and looking for hangouts the Hangout Canopy extension is a must have in my opinion. It adds a little umbrella that is wedged between the address bar and settings wrench of chrome and allows you to quickly see who is hanging out. Being completely new to the hangout experience I think this extension is awesome and will gain hopefully some traction.

If you are on G+ and have yet to join a hangout, I highly suggest you do. The conversations that I participated in tonight varied from FB vs Google to QR code generators and scanners, to marketing and more. Granted my wife thought it was little odd that I was video chatting with people I didn’t ” know ” but the fact of the matter is that I was in the process of getting to the know them. Subsequently I have added some of those folks to my circles and some have added me to theirs.

Google + now boasts an estimated 50 million users. With that number expected to climb at breakneck pace, now is the time to get on there if you haven’t and acclimate yourself. If you are on their but not active, I highly suggest getting involved over there. Where Facebook is making sweeping changes that further impede our privacy and ability to not share each every piece of information of where we travel on the world wide web and what we do. Google + is a fresh and uncharted frontier with some incredible people that you can meet and network with. Hangouts are in integral part of that component. I have been circling and being circled but it wasn’t until engaged in a hangout that I felt that I was a part of the community and not just an observer. It was great.

As G+ grows and google makes additional enhancements to their platform it is only become a richer more rewarding experience. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for G+ and the programmers like Robert Pitt that are creating extensions and apps to run along side of it.

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Google Plus Hangouts for the Iphone

Yes that is right. I awoke this morning to see that  an update of the iphone G+ app,  iphone user will now have Google Plus hangouts for the iphone.

Google has enhanced their Iphone app with a number of tweaks most notably huddle is now messenger, user can +1 from with app but the biggie a change that will allow Hangouts to occur on the market leading smartphone. From within the app if someone invites you to a hang out. You can click Join and voila you will be in the hangout. As of right now that app does not have Ipad support.

From what I have read it will allow you to toggle between the back and forward facing camera which is a good thing. Depending on where you are or what you are doing having that flexibility is nice.

My big question is how long will take before the average users starts using mobile G+ Hangouts? As with most things tech lately it takes the average Joe or Jane some time before they are aware of newer features like hangouts or even G+ for that matter. I have been on the standard G+ for over two months now and have yet to do a hangout. Not enough of my peers or friends on there to warrant a hangout I suppose. Soon. Hopefully…

Where do mobile hangouts fit into the picture? I asked myself this over the morning cup of joe. I think for the iphone/G+ user that needs to collaborate with others on projects it makes more sense to use the traditional hangout vs the mobile iphone version. Bigger screen on notebook or desktop means less eye strain, better sound quality on a pc result in better experience. I guess if someone was in a jam had to take advantage of their iphone hangout it is better than nothing. I do like the idea but I wonder how much the iphone hangout feature will be utilized initially. Couple what I have just mentioned with the likely drain on battery life of the iphone and with the challenges of just getting folks to join up regular G+ and you can see how it may be difficult for this new feature to take off.

All these recent innovations are great to stand by and watch, I do sometimes struggle to see their immediate impact. G+ mobile hangouts fall into this category. That said, I enjoy all things tech and this is just another stepping stone on the path that we are on.