Last Saturday I had the pleasure to participate in the July 2012 Discussion Group of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, via Google+ Hangouts. We discussed The Singularity is Near movie, my talk in London on July 14, how to make transhumanism more appealing to women, and other issues.
The monthly MTA discussion group via Hangouts On Air is scheduled for the last Saturday of each month at 10:30am Mountain (Utah) Time (9:30am PST, 0:30pm EST, 5:30pm UK, 6:30pm EU). Watch the MTA mailing list, Google+ page and Facebook group for announcements and time changes. The MTA meetings offer a compelling mix of spirituality and science.
Hangouts, on Google+, are video meetings with up to 10 participants. With the new Hangouts On Air the live stream of the discussion is broadcasted in real-time on Youtube, so other participants can watch. The live stream is recorded and becomes a normal YouTube video when the hangout is stopped. Only 10 persons can participate interactively. These are the first 10 persons who show up (no way to “reserve a seat”) and the latecomers can only watch the live stream or the recording on YouTube. In this first exploratory meeting, we found a simple workaround: The person who starts the Hangout should share it only with those who reserved a seat, and start broadcasting after they join, at which point the Hangout becomes public. Besides video-chat and broadcasting / recording, Hangouts permit local screen sharing and collaboration in Google Docs.
Two years ago, after Google I/O 2010, I wrote: “the most interesting development to watch, still a rumor, is Google Meetings [then rumored precursor of Hangouts]: a multiuser videoconferencing application for the Google cloud. If Google Meetings is integrated with the other applications in the Google Apps suite, it could very rapidly become the favorite solution for desktop business videoconferencing and collaboration.” Now, it is evident that Hangouts will have an important impact on the way we interact online, and transform / democratize traditional TV broadcasting. Though I prefer more immersive, feature-rich and professional collaboration solutions, I think this is a very important development and a game-changer.