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Google+ Hangouts are arguably one of the social networks killer features. Initially starting life as an internal way for members of the Google developer team to communicate, it has grown into one of the most innovative realtime communication mediums that the network has to offer users.
With the recent opening up of the hangout API publically to developers, there has been a number of creative uses of hangouts, and indeed applications built off the back of the platform through the API. This post showcases just some of the most innovative uses of that particular feature.
Poker is an inheriently social game. It makes sense then that the realtime ‘around the table’ atmosphere that a multiuser Google+ hangout brings to the party has transpired into a poker application. Aces hangout combines the multiplayer conveience of the web, with the hangout API to create an awesome experience for players.
A previous favourite of mine – Cacoo tackles the common business problem of collaboration using the hangouts API. Users can simulataneously see what is on screen, and share diagrams during a live video chat. For software and networking IT professionals it offers a new and exciting way to work together.
Bravo TV offers an interactive hangout where pop culture fans can take trivia quizzes together, and rank against each other on a leaderboard.
Marketing itself as a kids app, Scoot Doodle provides a shareable realtime doodle pad, where anyone of any age can draw, play and create together at the same time, face-to-face. The hangouts API provides the collaborative video glue that holds the social experience together, and adds an extra dimension to the application.
Slideshare is arguably one of the best online presentation tools on the web. Their recent integration with the hangouts API provides a meeting place where people can watch slides live with multi-party real time video. Invite multiple participants to your own slideshare show, and collaborate and present face to face with each other in real time.
Artist and Google plus user Cliff Roth invites plus users to join him online in a hangout whilst he ‘speedpaints’ you, creating an artistic caricature. According to his blog Cliff now spends a significant part of his day in Hangouts doing Speedpaints of fellow Plussers.
Alida Brandenburg interviewed a potential new roommate who lived over 3,000 miles away via a Google hangout, showing that Google+ can be useful to meet people long distance without actually meeting face to face.
Fancy yourself as a bit of a Jamie Oliver? Google+ provides Lee Allison a twice weekly platform to get up close and personal with his students. Grab a whisk, and join the webs most creative, collaborative cooking class.
Hangout Conversations is a weekly LIVE chat show provided via Google+ Hangouts w/ Matt Rappaport. Shows have avariety of guests including musicians, social media strategists and other interesting people invited along for the party. Previous shows are archived on YouTube (and available through links on the website).
If movies are your thing, (particularly bad ones) then Movie Riff is the hangout for you. These guys tear apart bad movies in a funny way regularly and the banter can provide hours of entertainment.
Xavier College Prep World History teacher Ms. Nunez has to miss class during the critical review week before final exams. To get around the problem – she turns to an interactive teaching platform – Google+ using hangouts. A great example of Google+ used within education.
Daria Musk has used Google+ hangouts as her own personal stage. Hosting concerts where anyone can join to watch her perform has generate amazing buzz on plus, and now over 1 million people have her in Google+ circles. Arguably one of the first musicians taking advantage of the platform, her about page (linked above) tells the story of how she has grown from humble beginnings to her current internet stardom.
View the Ocean
The Great Barrier Reef will soon be mapped out in a Streetview type experience online, allowing users to explore the ocean floor. This joint venture between Google, the University of Queensland and the Catlin group is known as the Catlin Seaview Survey, and this underwater hangout was used to demo the technology – from the ocean floor.
Slam Dunk Performance
This is definitely one of the most creative uses of a Hangout I’ve seen, and a must for basketball fans. DeQuan Jones took requests for dunks from fans via Hangout, then went and performed the dunks.
Not only do Hangouts have the ability to connect people on opposite sides of the planet, they can also connect people on opposing sides of the social and political spectrum. With the ability to comment in real time to the issues being raised – hangouts provides a way to see how arguments, topics and decisions on important issues resonate with an audience.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the creativity showcased above is only scratching the surface, and with the API now available to all, we’ll see further examples of how people are innovating using the platform.