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Upcoming Audio Disruption of Audio On Air

Hangout PhonecallsA NEW SLIDER inside Google Hangouts could disrupt social audio services. Specifically, Google has shipped two new features that allows you to tweak a slider that lets participants select an audio-only mode.

Tim Blasi of Google explained that you can "choose this mode to send and receive audio only, and thus, significantly reduce your bandwidth requirements. Other participants will only see your profile picture, but they’ll hear you loud and clear." This will keep Hangouts running when I'm walking around inside old ruins near my home in County Tipperary, Ireland--if I walk about with a laptop. The service doesn't show the sliders on a mobile device.

Most of the people I know in Ireland who fancy themselves as knowing how to leverage social media for business have not got their feet wet with Google Plus. Yet Google Hangouts is a feature that a lot of people have used often without realising it. For example, they might have seen a clip on YouTube that was recorded via Hangouts on Air, then automatically saved on YouTube where hundreds of viewers saw the conversation weeks and months later.

I'm certain that before I retire, I will run a Google Hangout from a classroom setting and answer a question from a remote viewer in English for someone speaking another language. I believe the Hangout will port the question through Google Translate and I will hear the question in English through the Hangout. Going audio-only should accelerate the arrival of such a window of truly innovative social networking.

Drew Olanoff -- "The Best Part About Google Hangouts Is That The Technology Itself Completely Disappears" on Techcrunch, November 1, 2012.

Bernie Goldbach teaches social media for business in the Limerick Institute of Technology's creative multimedia degree programme.