Google’s New Video Chat: “Hangout”
As people leave college and move to cities away far from the friends they’ve known for years, video chatting becomes a way to maintain relationships and keep in touch. I’ve tried to Skype many of my distant friends; but for some reason, Skype never works out for me. There’s always some sort of glitch that happens. I’m frozen, they’re frozen, the sound doesn’t work, it’s lagging. The list of technical difficulties is endless and frustrating to the point where I rarely use it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to. If I could hangout on video chat with a friend without any errors or hold-ups, I would use it all the time.
Video chatting isn’t just for friends, either. Many companies have started doing “Skype Interviews” with people who live in distant cities. Skype meetings are not uncommon, also. Video chatting makes everything easier when it works out. Since so much of our communication relies on body language and facial expressions, it makes sense to utilize video technology for communicating rather than the telephone.
Google has had video chatting capabilities since 2008. But recently, they upgraded their technology to create a more interactive chat experience. They call it “Hangout” because you can chat with up to nine friends or colleagues at the same time. While the previous Google video chat was based on peer-to-peer technology, the Hangout utilizes Google’s network to deliver higher reliability and enhanced quality. On Hangout, users can share YouTube videos and watch them together, they can collaborate on Google docs, share their screens, and add those fun effects like pirate hats and mustaches with the “click of a button.”
While other video chatting services only allow you to chat with those using the same service, Hangout allows you to chat with people using multiple platforms. Hangout allows you to reach not only those on Gmail, but those using Google+, Android, or iOS devices as well.
The ad demonstrates just how easy and fun a Hangout on Gmail can be. It shows a large group of people chatting on Hangout with one another, all videos streaming clearly and without lag. Users simply click “Add YouTube” to the Hangout, and they can all watch silly cat videos and laugh. It’s almost like actually being together. They can also “share screens” on Hangout, allowing users to share whatever is on their computer screen with their Hangout group. This would be exceptionally useful for co-workers working on a project together.
Google plans to roll out Hangout over the next few weeks.