The social network known as Google+ has once again shown another tiny improvement set to make big waves, and it’s got us all thinking that Skype may be on its way out alongside all over enterprise conferencing systems. Google+ Hangouts (the On Air version) now has a Full Screen button, this allowing you to turn your entire monitor into your conferencing station. While Skype and other conferencing systems have had similar functionality to this for a while now, Hangouts ability to use virtual whiteboards and screen sharing have the potential to put the competition out of business.
You’ll see quite a rabble of people jumping for joy when Vic Gundotra makes simple note of the Full Screen option this week, with Gerwin Sturm getting credit as an avid coder and contributor to the Google+ project from the odd angles. It’s the community that surrounds a platform that makes it strong, of course, and though Skype does have one massive following and brand recognition to spare, there’s something to be said about Google’s simple integration and quickness with the updates to their systems. If you’re signed up for any one of Google’s different services, it’s just one more click to get into any of the rest of them – and thus the web does close in.
When I’ve got to teach a new employee or a colleague about something that requires me to show them on-screen what I’m doing, I use Google+. When I want to chat face-to-face with my wife across the country or the world, I use Google+. It’s becoming natural to me and the people I associate with very quickly, and with value added options such as the ability to collectively watch a YouTube video from the chat, Hangouts wont be cutting back any time soon.
Then there’s integration with smartphones – already live now. Plug your smartphone in to your HDTV with its HDMI or MHL port and you’ve got a camera and a giant screen to do large-scale video conferencing on the fly. The ability for Google to grow here is immense, and with video quality and the popularity of the program jumping each time someone like Barack Obama jumps on to have a chat, Google is in a great place with Hangouts.