Now that sounds rather ominous, doesn’t it? Although I didn’t say much, it IS true though. So let me tell you about this Google+ Hangout On-Air thing that is starting to shape yet a new road into Social Media and News Gathering/Sharing.
Google has released Google+ some time ago, which at first looked like yet another Facebook clone, but isn’t. Yes, you can post as you can in Facebook, adding links to stories and sites, adding photos and videos, and even have annoying posts roll over your screen from the ‘Newsfeed’, which is called ‘Stream’ in G+.
And yes, it too works with some form of Pages, Groups and ‘friends’.
But there are a few things significantly different to make it interesting. The most important one – in my view – is the morphing of Skype and Facebook into ‘Hangouts’. Basically these are on-line sound/video conversations with anyone you like, and with a number of people simultaneously.
Yes, you need a webcam (preferably, it is so much more social to see each others face) and a microphone and headset (better sound and no echo from speakers).
But it isn’t the same as Skype, and FB doesn’t have this feature.
What’s more, it works BETTER than Skype. The video features are more elaborate, quality is better and you can see and hear multiple people. It is great for remote meetings…… something that until now was only for corporations having their own expensive video network.
The other thing that Google+ has is ‘Circles’. You can compare it with Facebook’s friends groups. Only in G+ you can have people in your Circles that are not ‘friends’ per se, or you can be in other people’s Circles without knowing, or having a say in it. I guess that’s good and bad. So far it doesn’t bother me and the graphical solution of the circles is much more intuitive than the pull-down lists of FB friends groups.
But what does this have to do with US tv? Well, one broadcaster, KOMU 8 News from Missouri, has started embracing the new technology. Sarah Hill, the anchor woman (and pardon my less-than-stellar familiarity with US broadcasting systems and terminology) presents a news program (our US friends call everything a ‘show’) while at the same time she is connected to a group of on-line Google+ users that have connected to a Hangout she started. A Hangout is a communication session that people can hook up to. And thanks to my good friend Joe Puglisi from New York, whom I know for many many years from my former IT Exec years, I got in touch with this technology and these people embracing it.
The news program shows video footage, the news reader/presenter AND the Internet image with the Google+ participants of that moment.
So that’s how a fair number of people all the way over in Missouri got to see my mug on their tv screens! That must have been a scare!
These are exciting time, with many things happening that open up new horizons. Not only for news, or family banter over the Internet, but certainly also for companies seeking new markets and for ordinary people getting ‘out of their boxes’…..
If you’re not on Google+ yet, then sign up. If you like Facebook, you’ll probably like G+. And if you loathe Facebook, you certainly might like G+ ! *grin*