Google Plus Hangouts: Are they Habit forming?

Google Plus Hangouts are both powerful and to me at least they are partially addicting. Since joining my first hangout nearly three weeks ago I have participated in over a dozen. Some have been with 9 other people and others have been one on one.

To those who didn’t read my earlier entry on hangouts and may not be familiar with what they are, here are the basics. A Google plus hangout is a video chat with up to 9 other Google+ users. The Google+  hangout interface is smooth and even when joining on from my Evo 4G, the video and sound is for the most part is solid. After hanging out with a number of different folks from varying background and walks of life, I have started to ask myself this question about Google Plus hangouts: Are they habit forming?

I say this as I tend to see the same folks on and hanging out when I check my hangout canopy or take a look at gphangouts.com. I recently asked a number of people in hangouts how many total google plus users actually participate in hangouts. The number that most see to say is about 1000.

Out of of that 1000 I have to suggest that most are highly active hangout participants. Even for me, since first hanging out I find myself seeking hangouts and meeting new people. Just this Saturday night, my wife and kids were out of town. Pre-Hangout me would have been behind my PS3 all night fragging people or on youtube looking for BJJ techniques on my iPad. Not this time. I was hanging out. In fact I was on a few different hangouts and ended up logging off at 1:15am. I had some great dialogue about G+, Hangouts, gaming and even a rubiks cube competition. I was enjoying a few beverages and quite possibly ended up being ” that guy ” and overdoing it but hey it is rare that I have the house to myself and the irish blood coursing through my veins may have got the the best of me on Saturday.

Being able to have engaging conversations and meet people that I otherwise would have never met is quite a rewarding experience. As G+ grows I think the scale and scope of hangouts will grow as well. I do believe at least for me hangouts could be habit forming and addictive. I gather others may feel the same why. If they are not than why do we tend to see the same folks hanging out?

I look forward to meeting more of you and extending my reach and as celebrities like will.i.am, Adrian Grenier, Felicia Day and more start to take advantage of hangouts to reach their fans, I think their popularity will grow more and more. By then I may need hangouts anonymous. ” Hi my name is Dan. I am addicted to G+ hangouts. ” My question is will be ironic to host Hangouts anonymous on Hangouts?

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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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