Thursday, February 9, 2012

Finding Hangouts Needs to be Easier.

Well, it's been a while since I've posted here. Mainly because the team at Google has been rolling out feature after feature, improvement after improvement, bug fix after bug fix, faster than we can all get our hands and arms around all that Google+ has to offer.

Tonight I participated in a Hangout with, of all people, some members of the Hangout team at Google. It's GREAT that they can use their very own product as the mechanism to gather feedback. I commend them for hosting these - not just today, but in the past as well. It's been interesting to hear the discussions about how others are using Google+ Hangouts, how they WISH they could use them AND WHY. Also great to hear discussions a couple months ago and see those features live today.

That said, here are two enhancement requests that I'd really like to see. OK, make it three.

1) When I sit in front of my computer and click on +Dan, I enter my Stream (Home page). I sometimes want to quickly see/know if there are Hangouts taking place right at that moment. No realy easy and obvious way to do so. SURE - I've saved a Search Query as part of my Sparks List searching for "is hanging out with" and that will then search the stream and display them for me. BUT, I try to teach others how to use Google, G+ and the Internet and it really should be easier. Especially for my parents generation.

2) Building on that first example, now, if I click on my Genealogy Circle, I'd like a way to see - SPECIFICALLY - if there is a Hangout occurring withing my Genealogy Circle of friends/contacts. But it won't do both. It will either show me my Genealogy Stream OR will execute my query for "is hanging out with", but will not show both filters at once. I've tried to monkey around and manually edit the URL but not even that seems to work. SO, it's made my official wish list.

3) Lastly, when trying to join a Hangout, sometimes I see they are full, but I really want to join for a particular discussion . . . so, I Try Again and Try Again and Try Again. Wouldn't it be great to know how close we are to the head of the line? If there are 1 or 2 or 3 ahead of me, I may opt to just hang and wait, but if I'm 34th, well then maybe I have time to do the dinner dishes or even run 10k or something. Who knows?

Any thoughts from my fellow G+ users? Fellow family history enthusiasts?