Forget the previous posts on linking lecture theatres, Google Hangout is the new winner.

We shifted to ‘Google’ a couple years ago so all our staff and students have access to Gmail, Docs, Drive, Sites and Calendar .

We now have Google+ available as an ‘opt in’.  Like many I’m not totally convinced by the social networking bit, but Hangouts are another story.

It handles eight video locations at once (soon to be fourteen), plus file sharing, text chat and screen sharing (vision not control), all on a platform that all our staff and students immediate access to.

google hangout

Me and all my friends

This is also a winner for cross campus student consults and research supervision.

The video quality is acceptable, (perhaps not as sharp as the previous winner Polycom).  We did have some performance problems soon after we went live with it but it seems OK now.  That might be something to watch out for.

The only additional thing I’d like to see is the ability to record, which is important if academics want to re-purpose a session. The public hangouts (Hangouts on Air) are recordable, but not the private ones.  I know there are recording programs like Camstudio, but when it comes to academic adoption every additional hurdle is  another reason to not go ahead.

Overall it seems to do pretty much everything I want.