hi y'all.

i've been gone on vacation for 3 weeks in august and am just finally feeling like i'm behind by a "normal" amount. it's been 2003 since i took such a long break, but it's good to be back...

about hangouts...

for signers there are two categories of things that we've been working on.

first and foremost, we've been aggressively improving the video quality and stability. it's still a huge challenge to transmit 10 video feeds to 10 end points, potentially all around the world. we still have lots of improvements we want to make. but i hope you see a substantial improvement in video stability in the past several weeks. this will be a never-ending effort. without improved video quality the next thing doesn't matter.

second, as i hungout in signing hangouts, i also noticed that most people were trying to watch others sign from the thumbnail video. our voice activated video switching for the main video usually just stayed on whomever had the most background noise.

So, we added a "Take the floor" feature. Give this a try and let us know how it works for you. 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.

note that this only works when you are muted. and once you've "taken the floor" no one else can take the floor for a few seconds. we did this to arbitrate if multiple people do it at the same time... whomever you see in the main video has the floor. If that's you, go for it. +Naomi Black did this great video below about this feature :)

as always, as you use this, if you have feedback about it, let us know.

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