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Emerging from my political news cocoon to read some of my other feeds, I'm kind of amused that the snap judgment of some of the tech press about the newly-announced Google+ Hangouts business collaboration features has been that it's gimmicky, and not useful for "real" business.

We've been using this as our primary means of distance collaboration for quite awhile. As somebody in a non-Mountain View office, I use it a lot. I can't remember the last time I phoned another Googler.

It makes so many meeting nuisances just go away. Whenever someone schedules a meeting here, it's just assumed you're going to set up a Hangout; people generally don't even bother to let a meeting organizer know if they're visiting another office or working from home, they just plan to attend by Hangout. If you forget whatever weird dongle you'd need to hook up your laptop to a conference-room projector, no problem; you just share your document with the Hangout. And it's brilliant.

I don't know anything about how the product decisions were made, but from my perspective it didn't seem like a dogfood (where Googlers use a pre-production product as an initial shake-out); it seemed like we decided to turn the great tools we were already using at Google for internal collaboration into something other companies could use too. I can't imagine going back to the phone conference bridges or web-presentation systems I used at previous companies. It's a great integrated experience that I think people are going to love.
Amy Rich's profile photoTrey Harris's profile photoTim Pierce's profile photoPhil Pennock's profile photo
Like you, I use it many times a day.  I cannot imagine doing work without it.  And when I think back to my prior jobs, I think about how much more effective meetings would have been with Hangouts.
My employer uses Hangouts extensively for meetings, as I'm a remote employee and others work from home about one day a week.

Hangouts work exceedingly well.

(aside from some kind of peering bandwidth or traffic shaping problem between Verizon and Google)
I'm in an even smaller remote office than Trey, and I use Hangouts many times per day.  I never want to go back to old fashioned phone or video conference bridges.
For me (in a startup), it's fighting a running battle with Skype (due to other people's preferences), but I think the recent integration with GMail and Calendar has given it the winning edge. Integrated with the rest of the Google Apps ecosystem, its use is a no-brainer.

It works really well on mobile as well, and the only time I've had issues was when my TomatoUSB router shaped the traffic overzealously with the default ruleset.
The presentation mode is great.  I remember one of my coworkers was presenting in front of a large group and when he got up and grabbed his laptop he tried to unplug the projector - he looked very confused for a minute :).
Not only do I use Hangouts for work (where they are amazing), they are also integral to our cross-office D&D game. That alone should tell you this is world-changing technology. ;) 
Skype was easy to counter: I noted the logistical challenge of getting all people in a meeting to have paid for the premium version needed for multi-user video, in the absence of a corporate group management facility. If someone joins who hasn't paid for premium, video turned off.

At $previous_employer, none of the other ops people got off their arses and paid, so my paying was just wasted money.

By contrast, the biggest problem with Hangouts is the inability to easily tell apart the private vs work accounts of your colleagues, when you're trying to keep private accounts clear of susceptibility to discovery motions in later years. Some of us have changed our names on our work account, but it's not a good solution.

But this is a good problem to have. Multi-user video chat working is awesome.
There are Googlers with phones?
We don't use phones either, we use Vidyo.
+Tim Pierce Yes! Turns out their Androids have this blocky blue "C" icon on the bottom row of the home screen, left of the application drawer. When you tap it, it opens a phone app! It's kind of clunky to use, you have to use these numeric-only addresses for people, but it can be used to phone people. I think this isn't just a Googler-only feature either!
Smartass. :-) I don't think I even know anyone who has a phone on their desk in the Cambridge office.
Loosely speaking, if the Network Engineers don't have a non-VOIP phone on their desks, then you have a major problem.
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