Google + has always been a like/dislike relationship with me.
I first used it when it was in beta, and for a couple of weeks or so, it was ok, but i thought it was irrelevant.
Then i saw Google Hangout.
At this point, you were able to watch a YouTube video in the same hangout, but that was about it. But it showed promise.
I then decided to get rid of it, mainly as i knew one person who was using it, and i couldn’t justify using Facebook, Twitter, and now a 3rd social network. It only had hangout as its trump card, and if they had that as a separate app, i’d definitely use it.
Around a month ago, i decided to go back, to solely promote this blog, and see what had changed.
Apart from a refreshed UI, not a lot.
But it wasn’t until earlier today that i used Hangout, and the amount of features are mind boggling.
Here’s a couple that caught me eye:
- Join an existing hangout, so in a way, you’re becoming a live audience member to an indie TV Show, which i think is brilliant.
- Not only watch YouTube synchronously, but draw Doodles, play games, share Google Docs, and have 9 people join one hangout.
The reason i used Hangout earlier was because I need a service that not only does video conferencing to 3 people, but able to show rough sketches and videos.
Skype did the first point well, but only on the desktop. If you try this on an iPad or iPhone, you can only participate in an existing call, and only hear and see the recipients, but they can only hear you.
Maybe we’ll see an update that will fix this, but for now, it’s a bit crazy.
I proposed that if the other two join Google+, we can use it solely for Hangout.
So one lad is directed to the Google+ main page, and the first thing he says is this:
Straight away with this point, alienation smacks Google+ around the head a thousand times over, and all these potential users miss out on Hangout.
We then try Hangout, and after using top hats, it’s brilliant.
But, the UI for a Hangout on an iPad is so confusing, we decide to go back to Skype and hold up pieces of paper on the screen.
Hangout really has the potential to become a rival to Skype, FaceTime, and any other video conferencing applications, but if it’s only going to be a feature of Google+, it’s a wasted opportunity.
I still don’t see the point for Google+ as a social network, people are used to Facebook because, going back 5 or so years, the reason it exploded was because it was user friendly, and it catered to all age ranges, which MySpace failed to do.
I’ve always and will continue to believe, that if Hangout becomes a separate app on all devices, brings the features of a doodle feature and the ability to watch a video and comment at the same time, it’s got huge potential.
With Google + it’s dragging a huge weight behind.