Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Switching Devices during a Google + Hangout

Google continues to blow my mind with Google +.  For a long time the most exciting feature for me on this social networking tool has been the Hangout feature.  Being able to have meetings with 9 other individuals is fantastic.  Then Google added app integration and suddenly you could collaborate on Google Docs, watch Youtube videos together and most recently share and control their presentations.  In a previous post, I believe I described how Don Goble did just that to keynote a recent SET Connections conference. The tonight I was privileged to "Hangout" with Carol Broos and a number of Golden Apple Academy members, many of whom were new to the idea of the Hangout feature.  Carol had asked me to talk a bit about PLNs and in preparation I wanted to make sure my screenshare feature was working properly so I could show Twitter, Facebook and Google + So I opened a Hangout and saw Carlos Fernandez was available.  I sent him an invite and was surprised to find he answered on his cell phone.  I knew this was possible but really needed him on a device where he could confirm my screen looked right.  So he walked over to his laptop and suddenly the screen blipped and his image became clearer.  My jaw dropped when it dawned on me that he had just switched his connection to the hangout "on the fly" between his IPhone and his laptop.  This was because he had the invitation to Hangout open on his laptop and simply clicked it and disconnected his phone.  At least I think that's what happened.
So during tonight's meeting the question arose as to whether you could join a Hangout on an iPAD.  I knew you could but wasn't sure exactly how.  So, during the meeting I downloaded the Google+ app to investigate.  Sure enough once you have the app installed and are signed in, you can look in your notifications for Hangouts happening now and click the join button and you can Hangout from your iPAD.  Now here's the even more mind blowing part.  If you join a hangout your already in on another device - you actually get in TWICE! Which is really confusing to yourself and other participants - but this has implications.  Maybe you need to have a screenshare happening on you desktop or laptop but still wish to be seen?  Pull your video connection up on your device and screen on the other! Maybe you need to show multiple angles of an object, put it between your tablet or iTouch (yes, it works on those too) and now you have a multiple angle shot.  I'm trying to figure out the best way to do a screencast of this using a Hangout.  But until then I hope this info blew your mind as much as it did mine and you are already thinking about implications!

In trying to record a Google + "On Air" Hangout so I could demonstrate how this works, I discovered that it does not seem to work in a recorded Hangout. I was not able to join a recording session in progress from an iTouch like I was the live discussion last night.  If anyone knows how this can be done, please let me know! We all learn from each other!

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