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Experimenting with Google+ hangouts – live, interactive broadcast conversations

Google 的貼牌冰箱(Google refrigerator)

(Photo credit: Aray Chen)

Spending time on Google+ is sometimes a lonely thing. It’s the one-handed clap of the social media platforms.

But it has 170 million users who have “upgraded” their Google accounts and countless millions who may yet do so. But the potential for it as a platform is vast and there are good reasons professional and non-professional media organisations should take it seriously.

Not least, because of hangouts. Hangouts are when G+ users talk to each other (usually but not always) using video. Up to 10 people can take part. You can share Google Docs on the same screen, you can share your own screen and show people your Slideshare slides. You can also wear a “hilarious” pirate hat.

That was good, but this week Google stepped it up a gear. Now all Google+ users can host a Hangout On Air - a live video chat with up to 10 people that can be viewed by unlimited amounts of people, who can all participate via chat. Plus the entire chat is automatically uploaded to Youtube so you can post it to your site later on.

If you’ve ever done a webinar, it’s like that – but free, with an unimaginably bigger marketing potential (i.e. 170 million people) and with better functionality. Most corporate webinar providers charge would charge something like £1,000 for a 30-minute session in my experience.

The New York Times is already planning a series of Hangouts On Air, CNBC is doing its own sessions and The Guardian was one of the first publishers to try it:

I thought the Guardian handled it very professionally despite technical problems – more than I could with my laptop and… er that’s it, but that won’t stop me having a go.

So, I’ll be hosting a Google+ Hangout tonight to talk about media issues  tonight (Thursday) at 5pm UK time. Add me to your Google+ circles and log on to Google+ at 5.

 

 

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