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Phillip Torrone As more people join Google’s new social network, Google+ , they’re figuring out how to take advantage of some of the innovative uses for the site. One obvious use for educators is to boost their personal and professional network , particularly as the service offers more granular controls for privacy and sharing.
When Google launched its new social network, Google Plus earlier this summer, there was a flurry of stories about the site's potential for education. I confess, I penned a few: But as the summer waned on and the initial buzz over the site died down, it became less clear whether Google Plus would have the momentum going into the school year to appeal to returning teachers and students. Some of the pieces to make the site successful in an academic setting were (and still are) missing: namely integration with Google Apps for Education. The current 18-and-over age policy doesn't help much either. Hangouts: Video Communication and Collaboration
NEW YORK ( TheStreet ) -- Google's ( GOOG ) Facebook imitation, Google+, throws a lot of social networking features at the wall, and one just might stick: "Hangout," its video conferencing service. Hangout is one of several offerings Google hopes will lure people to its new social homepage called Google+ . The site is designed to give users a place to organize their friends and interests in sort of a visual contact list.
FIR co-hosts Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz were joined by friends of FIR Kami Watson Huyse (of Zoetica), Lionel Menchaca (chief blogger for Dell) and Bryan Person (of LiveWorld) for a test drive of Google+ Hangout , the social network’s video conferencing service. The experience was far from perfect and this video has been edited heavily so you don’t have to sit through the gaps and gaffes. Thanks to Bryan Person for capturing the screencast.
It’s only been a few days since the launch of the official Google+ Hangouts API (application programming interface), but we’re already starting to see some interesting implementations make their debut. Case in point: online whiteboarding service Conceptboard has introduced a Hangouts extension that puts Google’s own newly integrated Sketchpad to shame. On Wednesday, Google rolled out 9 new Google+ features , including several “extras” for Google+ Hangouts, the social network’s multi-person video chat component. Now in beta, these features allow Hangouts users to work together on Google Docs, share screens or collaborate together in Sketchpad, a simple shared sketching application. The Google Sketchpad in Hangouts lets users draw, add shapes, text, lines, images and more into a basic blank document which can be saved to Google Docs. Conceptboard’s Hangouts extension , however, offers a much richer implementation of shared whiteboarding.
Google+ Hangouts are proving one of the most popular features of the new social networking service, but there's no built-in option to record them. Until Google adds such functionality, we've found five workarounds to help you record your next Hangout — free. While we'd strongly suggest any G+ pros invest in specialist software, our solutions will suffice for capturing consumer Hangouts and offer easy sharing options, too. Take a look through the gallery for our five tested suggestions — which vary from quick and simple browser-based options to more advanced software downloads — and let us know in the comments any alternate ways you've recorded your Hangouts. Image courtesy of iStockphoto , Lefthome
Google's Justin Uberti has more information about Hangouts, the video conferencing app that will be available in Google+ . To support Hangouts, we built an all-new standards-based cloud video conferencing platform. This platform combines high quality, low latency, and strong security with the ease of use of a web application. Through the efficiency of this new platform, we're able to deliver a leading video conferencing experience at Google scale. A few noteworthy technical points: * Fully browser-based/cloud-based * Client-server: leverages the power of Google's infrastructure * Designed for low latency (< 100 ms) and high performance (multicore + hardware acceleration) * Standards-based: XMPP, Jingle, RTP, ICE, STUN, SRTP * Fully encrypted (HTTPS + SRTP) Hangouts require the same plugin that's currently used for voice and video chat, it's limited to 10 participants and doesn't work on mobile devices yet.
There seem to be three forces at play when it comes to education and social media. The first is a lack of force, quite frankly - the inertia that makes many educators unwilling and uninterested in integrating the technology into their classrooms. The second is the force of fear - the pressures on the part of administrators, district officials, and politicians to curtail and ban teacher and students' interactions online. (See Rhode Island's recently passed legislation that outlaws all social media on school grounds as a case in point.)
One of the key components of Google+ is Hangouts , the video chat app built into the social network. It's based on some existing technology, from Gmail integration of Google Talk, but it is a complete, stand-alone product. Right now, it looks like an appealing product, but it will need to scale, along with Google+, if it wants to become a real player in the video chat market. One way Google will try to do this is by opening up the technology and the communication channels to third-parties, to make it interoperable with other products. In essence, once Google manages to do this, other video chat app will be able to integrate Hangouts and web apps in general will be able to add video chat features.
Last night a chatroom changed my life. But it wasn’t just any chatroom. It was a virtual “hangout,” the group video chat service that is a prominent feature of Google+, Google’s new social-networking service that aims to challenge Facebook. . Shortly before bed, I lingered online, checking my various social networking sites when I noticed several friends were in a video chat session on Google+.