Google Hangouts are gaining in popularity not only among private groups who wish to chat collectively, but as a a viable medium for politicians, celebrities and others who wish to bend the public’s ear. With Hangout, it does not require the use of satellite trucks and miles of cable to beam images across the globe. Google Hangouts is one of the latest services being offered by the the search engine icon and is rapidly becoming an alternative to traditional broadcasting. Google Hangouts made a big splash at the Republican National Convention in Tampa last year when it was used in lieu of the more mainstream media as a vehicle with which to get the word out from political pundits participating at the event.
However, unlike mainstream media, Google Hangout is not the exclusive purview of a few privileged media personalities or well connected pols. Hangout is accessible to anyone who has an interest in sharing their views with an audience large or small. The screen consists of boxes within the frame containing the live feed of those participating in the discussion. Essentially, Hangout serves as a TV station utilizing a computer and camera to ”broadcast” online around the world. Although the quality may not match the quality of a full blown TV station, users are learning fast how to create studio quality lighting and produce shows that only recently was the exclusive territory of major media entities.
Google’s new web cam platform is sure to become more sophisticated as both rank amateurs and pros alike learn to master the new medium. While still in its embryonic stage, it hasn’t prevented the likes of president Obama and Mitt Romney from employing Hangout which drew hundreds of thousands of viewers. Governor Rick Synder engages in regular hangouts. Although the broadcast quality does not mimic traditional broadcasting, the fuzzy images and cellphone-quality images have become familiar to the internet audience. Hangout allows for dialog among as many as ten people as well as charts and documents similar to Skype and FaceTime gives the platform some flexibility in presentations. Best of all, “hangouts” are accessible to anyone with a web browser.