Hanging out July 24th
In a pre-emptive move against potential Olympic travel woes, over the next two week’s we’re experimenting with getting our team to work remotely as much as we can.
As part of our experiment we’re trying out Google+ Hangouts 1 to replace some of our internal meetings.
I’ve been working remotely in my current job for the past 12 months. Its great, but not without challenges. A lot of my work requires quite a bit of time to think and discuss with other team members, so time in the office tends to ebb and flow according to the project of the moment. One of the biggest problems with remote working is the feeling of being a bit isolated, especially if you’re quite a social creature 2 like me. Skype and conference calls can be great, but its not the same as being amongst the team.
- They’re fun. I know, I know — it’s easy to be cynical, but there’s still a novelty about your colleague’s head popping up on your screen when they’re 60+ miles away…
- They’re flexible. A video call is you and another person. A Hangout involves lots of people — you can dip in and dip out however you like. It feels a lot more like an actual ‘meeting’ than a phone call.
- The quality is superb. I’ve all but given up on using Skype for anything other than IM. The call quality is shocking. I don’t know how Google have done it, but Hangouts seem to be able to carry decent quality Video and excellent Audio with none of the stuttering that Skype calls have become known for.
- They’re easy. If you’re using the Google+ app on your phone/iPad setting up a Hangout is dead simple. The web app is a pain however, and regularly crashes for me.
- It hasn’t made me use Google+ any more. Despite all of this, I’m still not using Google+ as a social network. It’s not somewhere I visit to share content, or build connections. If ‘Hangouts’ are really going to be Google+’s marquee feature, they need to think about how they can pull people back into the network after using them.