Back when Google first launched Google+ what most users heard was that it was simply Google copying Facebook, and to some extent that appears to be a fair assessment. But, in all the noise about the posting to circles and all that, little notice was made of something called "Hangouts" in Google+ which might just be the nudge that kicks Google+ into a successful social media site. Mike Swift, of the San Jose Mercury News has written an article that has been syndicated all over the web, about the rise of Google Hangouts, and where it might be going. And Uberizmo after giving Hangouts a second look has some thoughts about it as well.

The big deal about Hangouts, which is basically video conferencing for the home crowd, is that users can write apps for it, just as they do for Smartphones. And that's what is driving the new publicity. Say you'd like to play cards with five of your buddies, but nobody wants to drive. All you and your buds have to do is fire up Google+ Hangouts, download an app that's been written for just that purpose, and just like that, you've got your card game. The app recreates cards onscreen, similar to Microsoft's ubiquitous Solitaire, for all to see, thus eliminating any chance of cheating. Players can see one another though, so bluffing is still the most important skill a player can have. Likewise, another developer created a simple drawing program that allows her mother to draw a picture together with her grandson.

Swift says it's this ability to create custom apps for a need that is seen that is driving Google+ into a social networking site to be reckoned with. But of course, it's more than that, just as apps for sale in the Apple Store are. It's about users seeing a need for themselves and filling it, and then many other's finding they want it as well, creating a financial incentive for people to put a lot of time and effort into such apps in hopes of getting rich. This is why Ubergizmo says Hangout's is a place worth jumping to when there are now so many places on the web that are not.

Swift also points out that when users get hooked on Hangouts, they tend to get hooked on Google+ itself as well due to the close association Google has made between the app and all of its others, particularly, those infamous circles.


Posted in Technology