Google+ is my favorite platform for collaboration. While it's been touted by Google as a social network on par with Facebook, the feature that makes Google+ shine is Hangouts. And, the best part is that Google keeps increasing the capabilities of Hangouts. Most people are familiar with the feature set of Hangouts: 10 person video/audio, chat, YouTube sharing, screen sharing, and Google Drive/Docs integration. Google is giving away a phenomenal array of functionality.
A couple of weeks ago, Google announced that they were going to offer "larger hangouts" for schools who are using Google Apps for Education. Instead of being able to hangout with 10 people, schools that enable Google+ on their Google Apps for Education, will "be able to invite up to 15 people to a hangout." I'm predicting that this number will continue to increase as Google increases their capacity to connect multiple users. Streaming a 15 person Google+ hangout session via YouTube (Hangouts On Air) is a magical bit of functionality. I frequently see examples where faculty and staff are using Google+ Hangouts to facilitate class experiences, meetings, and collaborative endeavors. Most of the time, alternative enterprise platforms are available, however, the simplicity of Google+ Hangouts is phenomenally appealing.
One thing that I didn't know about Google+ Hangouts is that you can "schedule a hangout in a calendar entry." Neat! Obviously Google is working towards total Skynet-like domination of the series of tubes, but I'm okay with their innovation for now.
Have you activated Google+ on your Google Apps for Education installation? Are your users using it instead of your other web-based collaboration tools? Are 15 spots not enough for you, your class, or your meetings? What would you like to see happen with Google+?
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