If you are unsure about the comparisons when it comes to Skype and Google+ Hangouts, look no further. We chat to Brett St Clair, Head of New Products Sub Sahara at Google. With 17 years of experience in mobile media, marketing and advertising all over the world, Brett offers us valuable explanations about the benefits of Google+ and Hangouts.
Hi Brett. How is Google+ Hangout different to Skype group calls?
Google Plus Hangouts are similar to Group calls on Skype except they happen in your browser and are free for up to 10 users in one hangout session. What is great is that Hangouts don’t use peer to peer technology and use cloud based technology instead. From a user perspective we have also added Hangout Apps where users can play games together or watch videos together from YouTube, even collaborate on Google Docs together in the video conference.
Is there a way to embed Google+ Hangout into a website?
Well the basic hangout as you need to launch from Google Plus, but we have a product called Google Hangout Air which allows the hangouts to be broadcast over YouTube live, which is incredible technology because now anyone can become a broadcaster. One can take the embed code and place it onto your website for audiences who are not part of the hangout but want to watch it live anyway.
Do you think Google+ Hangout Air can work effectively in a country like South Africa where there are major bandwidth issues with speed and smooth connections?
Yes, it works brilliantly; one will need at least 512kb/s so if you have a 3G connection it works brilliantly. We also have settings on hangouts where you can set for low connection speeds which can help anything below 3G access
Are Google + Hangouts monitored in any way for security reasons?
When one does a Hangout Air we apply the same content ID filters to the content as we would for YouTube. We do have very strict content policies.
Are Google+ Hangouts accessible on all mobile devices?
Yes you can watch and start hangouts on your Gplus App. In fact, when someone invites you to a hangout you get pinged on all devices that are currently connected to the internet and logged into Google. You will never miss a hangout call.
What kind of strategy should brands consider in order to get the most out of Google+ as well as Google+ Hangouts?
Google+ is less so a Social graph and more so an Interest graph. People go onto Gplus to look for people and content that they are passionate about and interested in. So as a brand, focusing on engaging with relevant communities with interesting content is key. Some great examples locally are Surf4Cars, UbuntuDeals and Woolworths. Remember, by setting up your business page, linking it to your web page with a Google+ badge, and finally linking it back to your AdWords account using social extensions, you get the benefit of all the social data positively affecting your advertising campaigns and SEO.
What new products are Google looking to roll out by the end of 2012?
Watch this space. We are always looking at new ways to excite the world, like with Google Glasses, which is a prototype but we are very excited about the application of wearable technology.