Joined a trial last week to investigate the usefulness of Google+ Hangouts and I must admit I was rather impressed. The scenario was to join a classroom based workshop along with other on-line delegates to see if it was acceptable as a method of delivery.
It was really easy and straight forward to set up and to take part you need access to the Internet, a webcam and a Google+ account. A microphone is optional.
The hardware I was using was an Acer Aspire 5750 with 2.4GHz i5 processor and a built-in webcam and microphone. My broadband connection speed was 1.1Mbps (pretty slow).
The video quality was extremely good throughout and the sound quality was excellent but this was dependent upon the location of the person speaking and the quality of their microphone.
A standard instant messaging system (called Chat) is available on screen and was useful to communicate with the other hangout members.
During the trial (7 hours plus) I lost the connection to the hangout on five separate occasions, with no prior warning, and each time had to return to my Google+ page and re-join. It was annoying but access could be re-established within 30 seconds.
In my opinion the trial was a complete success and the benefits far outweighed the negatives although there is a limit of only nine hangout members which is a real shame.
I was impressed with the sound and video quality and found the chat facility worthwhile.
All-in-all I would recommend Google+ Hangouts.
Go on … give them a try.
He is also the Group Manager of the East Ayrshire Business Forum on LinkedIn.