Naomi Black at Google headquarters invited Willie King, Jared Evans, Ben Rubin, Richard Goodrow, me, (and maybe others who couldn’t make it) to a Hangout On Air so she should show JAC Cook how Google’s videoconferencing technology works. We talked about some of the plusses (no pun intended) and minuses of Google+ HOA’s (Hangouts On Air, not Homeowners’ Associations). On the plus side, you have an attractive service and you don’t have to deal with firewalls; on the minus side, it is hard to have group talks in ASL when only one signer is in a big pane and all the others are in “thumbnails” in the “filmstrip” along the bottom of the screen. We discussed ways of moderating multi-signer videoconferences, such as having people hold up their hands when they want to talk and waiting to be called upon. Naomi reminded us you can select the thumbnail of the person you want to watch in the big pane, and a few of us recommended doing away with the screen-and-filmstrip layout and going to a more equally-sized multi-pane layout (or one where you can control the size of panes). Jared Evans & Willie King work at ZVRS and they said they would like to give Google some tips on more effective multi-point videoconferencing for signed language users.
I am glad that Google keeps seeking the opinions of the signing communities; I just hope they are willing to change the layout of Hangouts to a “Brady Bunch” grid format– or at least offer it as an alternate layout.
How about you? Does the current implementation of Google+ Hangouts work for you, or would you like to see changes made? Please leave your thoughts in comments below and/or send your feedback to Google!
- American Sign Language (ASL) Hangout On Air, Interpreted (terptrans.com)
- Participated in an ASL Hangout on Air on Google+ (terptrans.com)
- Google+ Hangouts (edelman.com)