I’ve got to admit that I've been skeptical about Google+ from the beginning for several reasons:
a) I don’t have time for another social network!
b) I haven’t figured out if it’s personal, professional or some mix of both.
c) I’m not seeing others adopt as quickly, so why put energy into a place with unproven traffic and value?
BUT there is one feature that has me hooked: Hangout! For those of you who aren't familiar with it, here's a video:
In fact, I agree with the New York Times that Hangout is the killer app of Google+ and the Lifehacker assessment that Hangout is the best group video tool out there. And, yes, I'm with Techcrunch in believing it beats Facebook video chat by a mile, too.
At GovLoop, we use the full suite of Google tools to communicate and collaborate (Gmail, GDocs, etc.), including Gchat for quick communication. But Hangout has enabled our team, which has been disbursed in Boston, Durham, DC and Tampa, to connect with each other “face to face.” While there is never a perfect replacement for in-person interaction, Hangout approximates that kind of connection and has improve our team’s rapport immensely. We use it for both smaller meetings of 2-3 people as well as for our full team meeting every week. The screenshot to the right is one of our less mundane meeting moments 😉
3 Recommendations for Google
1) Make it easier for Gmail users to jump from Gchat to Google+ and Hangout, especially the multi-party video chat.
2) Integrate Google+ into the rest of the apps.
3) Allow non-Gmail users to participate.
3 Ideas for Government