I admit I’m not sold on Google+. It’s selfish really – I don’t want another profile to update or network to build up. But, amidst reports that the social platform has surpassed 90 million users and will be rolling out its Search, plus Your World initiative, I felt I owed it a second glance.
At the start of the Global Google+ Hangout session at Columbia’s Social Media Weekend, I was happy to hear Sree Sreenivasan, the event’s organizer, mimic my feelings on the subject of new social media platforms. He shared a few wise words to consider before hopping on the bandwagon of a hot new social tool:
“Think first, does it fit into my workflow? Does it fit into my life flow?”
“Always be an early tester and a late adopter.”
Leaving us with the statement that, “Google+ is Google’s last stand with social, their last chance to make it work,” he introduced us to Daniel Sieberg of Google.
I watched with a skeptical eye as Daniel rattled off brief factoids about Google+ (200 features have been added since its launch, 3.5 billion photos have been shared through the platform, etc.), but when we hopped on a Hangout On Air video chat with Bradley Horowitz, VP of Product Management at Google and journalists in London, Berlin, Jakarta and Istanbul, things got a bit more interesting.
See, a Hangout On Air is not just another video conference call. Still in the Whitelist stage, Hangout On Air is the evolution of the Hangout (yes, a tool that just launched four months ago is already evolving). To summarize, Hangout on Air turns your computer into a mini broadcast tower. In their words, it’s the next generation of citizen journalism.
Here are the two key Hangout On Air stats that really struck a chord with me:
- As you video chat with up to 10 people from your Circles, the Hangout On Air can be seen live on your Google+ stream for all to see
- This allows others to see and talk about the video chat, even if they cannot participate in it(engagement, engagement, engagement!)
- When the video chat is over, it is automatically saved as a private or public YouTube file
- This saves the video chat for use as future content on all social pages and guarantees additional visibility (YouTube is the top video search engine and second largest search engine, period!)
While remaining an intimate video chat among a small group of people, the whole world has the ability to listen in and discuss during real time, and can refer back and engage with the content at any point afterwards since it is a saved YouTube file.
Daniel and Bradley shared stories of rural hospitals receiving live expertise from large city hospitals during surgeries and other unique uses for Hangouts. The possibilities for this new technology are far-reaching.
I still may not be sold on Google+ for personal use, but I can absolutely see the amazing potential the Hangout On Air feature holds for brands.