Let's face it. Google and Facebook aren't creating social networks for altruistic reasons. While Google and Facebook compete in the multi-gazillion-dollar ad revenue space, we, as social media consumers/communicators, get to benefit from their innovations. Google+  has been getting a lot of "buzz" lately as it is Google's latest foray into creating a service that can compete with Facebook.
Info streams and photo uploads are not necessarily new, but two of the features of Google+ that I am curious about (I've been using Google+ for about a week now) are Huddle and Hangout. Not to be confused with football teams or neighborhood barbecues, Huddle and Hangout are Google's answer to group text chat and group video conversation.
Huddle  connects groups of people via text-based chat within the currently Android-only Google+ mobile app . It reminds me a little bit of similar functionality from GroupMe . Private chat rooms aren't really all that new, but because it's a new service from Google, users may adopt this technology in a variety of ways. Collegiate admissions departments could hold "huddles" with prospective students. Conference goers could coordinate meet-ups with their friends. I've never participated in group text communications, but that doesn't mean that I won't try it out in the future.
What do you think? Does Huddle inspire you?
Hangout  allows up to 10 users to connect via real-time video. One of the neatest features in Hangout is that users can watch a YouTube video together. If Google ever allows for more than 10 users to chat simultaneously, I could see this technology being used both inside and outside of the classroom. As online learning becomes ubiquitous, student services personnel need to find new ways to conduct web-based orientations, advising sessions, and leadership workshops.
Have you "Hungout" yet? Do you plan on using it at your school?
I'm not sure if Google+ (and it's "new" services) will have an impact on the social media scene like Facebook or Twitter, but I do appreciate that with every failed attempt, Google does create a couple of new takes on social-connection-making functionality that are applicable to our personal / professional lives.
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