My Reaction to +The White House Google+ Hangout with President Barack Obama

Over the last several months, Google has been pushing its new technology hard. They have been holding concerts in New York City, spending time with the Dalai Lama and hosting celebrities like David Beckham.

Initially these hangouts seemed extremely organic. Such as the one with +will.i.am, where I got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hangout with him virtually one-on-one and ask him about social media and where music is going with this new technology. That happened purely by coincidence, I was in the right place at the right time.

That’s how this network works and that’s how a lot of opportunities work. You have to be at the right place at the right time.

Tonight Google made a bold move. They hosted the President of the United States in a “Google+ Hangout” with host +Steve Grove and several other people from around the country to ask questions.

Immediately after the hangout began there was a lot of speculation as to whether or not what we were seeing was actually a Google+ Hangout. Visually speaking, the control buttons were missing and peoples’ video and audio seemed alarming clear. Furthermore, the President had multiple camera angles.

After the fact, a photograph of Steve Grove in a studio somewhere was released illustrating that it was not your “normal” hangout. He was sitting in front of a professional studio camera with lighting, set design and a teleprompter. Clearly the setup for the other folks must have been similar.

Whether or not the video signals were actually transferred via a Google+ Hangout is irrelevant. What was saw was a very overproduced version of what a Hangout actually looks like to those of us that use them all the time.

Sure, there are inaccuracies that we could pick apart, but Google was trying to be as detailed as they could by even inverted the President’s view of himself so it appeared mirrored in the film strip. The problem was, it looked totally backwards when he was “green boxed.”

So, is it bad that Google “faked” the hangout?

Community Manager +Natalie Villalobos assured me that the people that appeared in the hangout submitted questions to YouTube. She was not specific as to whether or not they were text questions or video questions.

This also doesn’t answer whether or not these people voluntarily submitted questions to YouTube. Were they pre-selected people, or just regular Google+ users like you and me? In the end, it’s really not that important.

I do feel terribly embarrassed that I worked so hard on producing my video question for the President and asked all of you to thumbs up my video. I could have certainly invested my time in better things if I knew there was no opportunity for me to participate in this event. I do sincerely appreciate the support of all of you that did, though.

What is really important about all of this is that the President demonstrated how easy it is to have a video conversation simultaneously with several other people over the Internet.Whether that is what we actually witnessed is irrelevant. He shared with the world some pretty neat technology that most are unfamiliar with. Hopefully this bet will pay off for Google and more and more of the world’s citizens will enter this space eager to test the new technology themselves.

The larger this network grows and the more people that utilize its features, the more it will continue to develop and grow. We should be thankful for the tools we were given and appreciative of their efforts to expand our networks.

Although I’m embarrassed I spent so much time on my video and upset that they didn’t show off the “real thing,” what can you expect? This is the President we’re talking about; they won’t even let him have a real Blackberry for fear of security threats. Imagine trusting a company with a video platform that would have the vulnerability of someone crashing into, like Anonymous…

They made a safe bet. Now let’s see how it pays off…

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