Earlier this week, Google announced that they had opened up their identity service Google Plus to the rest of the internet. In addition to that announcement, they expanded the number of features for the service (mostly around the Hangout video chat feature). The most striking is that the feature will come to the mobile app, allowing for video chat wherever you are (or, more precisely, whatever your mobile carrier allows you to unless you are in a wifi zone). Online, they added additional Hangout options including sharing documents, a sketchpad, naming your Hangout (#libchat on Google Plus, anyone?), screensharing, and allowing you record your Hangout for playback on YouTube and/or for spectators to view beyond the first ten participants. (This last feature is only available to a select group at the moment; sadly I am not one of them.)
I have to admit that out of all the features, this last one intrigues me the most. It seems like an low or no setup required panel discussion or interview creator. I’m hoping to do a little experimenting when the feature goes live for the rest of the service, but in the meantime I’m happy to poke around with the new options.
Yes, Google Plus still requires you to use your real name. Yes, I know how some people are against that. No, there is nothing compelling you to use the service. Sorry, but at least if you don’t like the rules, you can walk away from this site without consequence.
For those who want to find me on the service, here I am. (It’s also a link on the right side of the page under How to Follow Me.) I am somewhat backlogged on adding people back, but I will get there eventually.