Sunday, September 11, 2011

Google+ Hangouts Update

 

Yesterday afternoon they announced a small addition to the Google+ Hangout Platform which will make it much easier for the hearing impaired to communicate, via sign language, within Hangouts.
In the past, it was really difficult for those communicating, via signing, to get the attention of the other users in the Hangout. Normally the large screen within the video chat platform jumps to the person currently talking, signaled by the sound coming from their microphone. This meant that those using sign language would not get the attention they may have been seeking. As of yesterday, however, Google added the “Take the floor” feature. Here’s how to use it.


1) have everyone mute their audio.
2) when you want to sign something, hit Shift+s.
3) when you see yourself as the main video, that's your cue. you've got the floor... everyone's main video has switched to you. sign away.


The new “Take the Floor” feature will only work when the user has their microphone muted.  Also, so that several users won’t all try to take the floor at once, there is a 3-4 seconds delay from when the first person “takes the floor,” to when the next person can try and “take the floor” from them.  The feature is certainly a very useful one, and in fact could be used in speaking hangouts as well, in order to control the flow of the conversation.  As of now though, the “Take the floor,” feature is only meant to be used in sign language Hangouts.  Here is a quick video from Naomi Black going over the new feature.

Taking the floor in a hangout with no mic