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.
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