Google+ Hangouts are all the rage today. They are the “new” shiny object in the social media world. For good reason, I think.
In concept, they’re certainly not new however. In fact, they’re eerily similar to the Tokbox group video chats of old. Take a look at this conversation over mojitos that took place in January of 2009, almost three years ago. It’s bascially a Google hangout. There is nothing new under the sun. 🙂
What Tokbox lacked was a community and buzz. Google+ has it and folks are looking for lots of ways to use it.
Jeremy Hart – @NRVLiving
can you do screen share on google hangouts? @NashvilleBrian @tinainvirginia
I understand the reason for Jeremy’s question. Doing a screen share while engaging with several people “face-to-face” over video is a tool that meets a real business need. And the answer is yes, Google+ Hangouts have screen sharing options. If you’re a small business owner, it may be the perfect solution for you. But if you’ve ever had to deal with large corporate clients, often social media sites are blocked on internal corporate networks. Google+ is getting a free pass right now inside some organizations that ban Facebook and Twitter, but it remains to be seen whether it will be allowed to remain inside the firewalls of corporate America. And the quality of several of the Hangouts I’ve been on, even with just a few people, has ben suspect. So, I’m not ready to depend on Google+ for my real business collaboration efforts just yet.
Enter an old dog with a new trick. GoToMeeting with HD Faces.
I’ve been using GoToMeeting.com to conduct online webinars for years. It’s one of my favorite tools. About a month ago I got an invite from Phil Kells of RealSatisfied.com in Australia, to try out the new “group video chat” features of GoToMeeting.com.
The news that GoToMeeting had added a group video chat feature had not caught my attention, so I was anxious to give it a try. Meetings with Phil, David King, and Chris Drayer had been occurring over Skype for several months. And while the Skype sessions were way better than a simple phone calls (and cheaper), as we got deeper and deeper into visual elements, Skype simply wasn’t cutting it.
The quality of the video (exceptional), in addition to the rock solid features GoToMeeting is known for – dial-in conference line and screen sharing with the ability to pass presentation control to any member – made this a winner from the very first session. There is a limit of six video screens per presentation, but I rarely need more than that for this kind of interactive discussion.
Google+ hangouts are perfect for what they are. They serve the conversation very well. And they’re free. GoToMeeting is not, and I’m happy to pay for the quality. So when it’s time to collaborate, and looking at the same document or website is a necessity, GoToMeeting with HD Faces is my current technology of choice.