Are you riding the Google+ wave? It seems like a large segment of the genealogical community is giving Google+ a try. I am on Google+ but I don't think I have been using it quite as actively as other people.
One thing I have been curious about is the Google+ Hangout. If you've used Skype before then you may have experienced something similar with their video conference feature. Google+ Hangout lets you have a video conference/chat with up to 9 other people for a total of 10 in the Hangout.
Today I've had the opportunity to have three Hangouts so I really got a chance to see how it works. This morning fellow blogger and colleague, Russ Worthington, invited me to a hangout. We were checking out whether it is possible to do a private hangout. And, yes, it does seem possible. You just need to specify the name of the person(s) that you want to invite to the hangout. Then only that person(s) will see the invitation. A hangout announcement/invitation gets posted to your wall but only the invitee can see it.
Later in the day I initiated my first ever hangout. All the others I had joined. This one I opened to anyone in my Google+ circles and waited to see who would randomly pop in. A number of genealogy friends from Facebook joined - Heather in NH, Patti in MO, Pat in DE and Kirsty in Scotland.
That hangout was interesting because some people had video and voice, one had voice only and one had no video and no voice and had to communicate through the chat feature.
It was fun to meetup face to face from so many different parts of the world and get to at least hear each others voices.
Lastly, I had a final, quick hangout with my cousin, Rusty. It was his first time doing a hangout.
What strikes me is how easy it is to do these hangouts. While we were just testing them and not really doing more than gabbing, I can see how hangouts can be a great way to connect with family or collaborate with colleagues. Being able to bridge distance so easily is exciting.
I admit that I don't love seeing myself on video but I've gotten over that. I feel like I've entered the realm of Star Trek and soon this form of communication will be natural. I'm looking forward to using it much more in the future.
If you want to try a hangout with me sometime leave a comment or drop me a line. See you on the web!