Most people I know don't want a video element in their collaborations. In fact, because of a video camera used during intra-campus meetings that I attend, some people give the meeting a miss. Or they sit obliquely to the camera's viewing range to ensure no face time in the meeting. Personally, I don't mind those videoconferences because they save money. And because there's often a meeting set to start close to the running time of the videoconference, the video-assisted meetings hold closer to their agendas.
It's worthwhile having a look inside how Google is nudging video conferencing towards a mobile experience. I've hung out in three handheld video conferences during the month of May 2012 by using my iPod Touch and a 3G O2 Hotshot in Ireland. These have been easy and seamless. They require less overhead than any other kind of virtual collaboration I've used. They also require an awareness of light, noise, camera angles, back channels and running notes.
If you're a road warrior who needs to hook up with home office, your family, potential clients or casual friends, I recommend buying a smartphone that has a front-facing camera. You need that capability to use Google Hangouts in your pocket. Actually, I recommend buying an iPod Touch because its implementation of Google Plus is as good as Steve Jobs would've specified. If you're always caught in a bad hair day or if your connectivity is choppy, you can kill your video and just hang out with an audio feed from yourself while watching and listening to others.
Mobile Hangouts will cause the internet to expand. The growth of mobile video connections and machine-to-machine connectivity will lead to a surge in the number of network connections over the next four years, Cisco Systems predicts. What I do with the iTouch others can do with camera-equipped tablets and two-camera smartphones. These portable devices account for nearly one-fifth of all consumer Internet traffic today. According to Cisco's latest Visual Networking Index Forecast, IP traffic will grow nearly 300% through 2016 -- reaching 110 exabytes per month and generating a total of 18.9 billion network connections worldwide, or roughly 2.5 connections for every man, woman and child on the planet.
If you ever want to nudge me into a G+ Hangout, get me to add you to a circle. Start at http://gplus.to/topgold
Bernie Goldbach curates links about Google.
Previously: "After One Month with Google Plus" on Inside View from Ireland, July 27, 2011.
David Armano -- "The Social Layer: Six Thoughts On Where Google Plus Is Going on Logic + Emotion, July 25, 2011.
Bonus Link: Talking Hangouts on Air (YouTube video with Jane Boyd and friends), May 30, 2012.