Have you ever used a piece of technology and just instantly fell in love with it? It happened to me several years ago when I tried Skype. At the time, it was miles ahead of other messaging clients such as MSN and Yahoo.
The same thing happened again yesterday when I finally got round to trying out Google Hangout with my friends Sam Sinton And Kevin Mackay. The service is amazing. I love it. I have nothing but manly geek love for it!
Skype charges for group video calls however the Google Hangout service is free. You can have up to 10 people hanging out chatting through video.
Hangout has one central video in the centre with other webcams shown underneath. It will automatically switch to the person who is talking. Alternatively, you can select any video you want by choosing the person at the bottom. It works really well. The screenshare application is incredibly useful. It allows users to show others any window on their computer; be it their browser, desktop, an application or whatever.
You can also share files through Google Drive, watch videos together through YouTube and annoy each other with silly sounds and animations (Google Effects).
Now here's where the service really comes into it's own. All video calls can be recorded on air for free. The broadcast will be shown online on YouTube live and the minute the hangout ends the video will be available for everyone to see on YouTube.
The one who sets up the hangout is the cameraman and can override the automatic video switching to focus on one person. This is really useful if someone is showing something on their computer at the time.
Myself, Kevin and Sam will be launching a live show very soon (more details to follow). It will also be available as a podcast. I plan on doing hangouts on my own too – sometimes with Kev or Sam, sometimes with other developers, writers and marketers. It will be a great way to show you guys live tutorials and conduct interviews.
I'm keen to do a hangout before the show is launched. In this hangout we would discuss what our upcoming show would be about, how the format is going to play out and what you can expect from the show. It may be tomorrow, it may be sometime this week. Would you be interested in viewing? Would you be interested in taking part? If so, please let me know in the comment area.