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This article was published on September 29, 2011

Google+ hints at communal media sharing in Hangouts

Google+ hints at communal media sharing in Hangouts
Sherilynn Macale
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Sherilynn Macale

Sherilynn "Cheri" Macale is based in San Francisco, CA. You'll probably find her tucked away in her apartment blogging, playing video games, Sherilynn "Cheri" Macale is based in San Francisco, CA. You'll probably find her tucked away in her apartment blogging, playing video games, or immersing herself in geek culture. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Google+

In the early days of the Google+ beta project, plenty of users were excited to see how cleanly images could be shared across their streams. Some of the more popular G+ users (according to how many people have actually circled them, anyway) have actually used animated imagery on the platform to draw attention to more thought-provoking posts.

Myspace Founder Tom Anderson, for example, has definitely been known to share a few posts containing animated GIFs, while other users (the formerly skeptical Robert Scoble included) adopted the trend shortly afterward. Although sharing on Google+ is twice as more likely to be private and among chosen circles, media sharing in general on the platform has been popular as there is no shortage of photos, videos and, yes, more animated GIFs to sift through on the fledgling social network.

Google+ is iterating on what it knows.

Google+, perhaps noticing the emerging pattern in the way consumers have chosen to engage with one another on the platform, is apparently iterating on media sharing across the service with hopes to better improve general user experience. Bradley Horowitz, Google’s VP of Product allowed one hint on the future of media sharing via Google+ to slip during his Wired interview with Steven Levy.

“People are already sharing fun media on the service, like animated GIFs. We’re not ready to announce anything now, but I think you can extrapolate and say Google+ is a good way to share mass media as well. That could take the form of people listening or watching something together in Hangouts.”

Horowitz, you tease! My mind is wandering with speculation. Mass media can be anything from images, to news articles, to cinema, radio, TV, videos and music — the idea is far too broad to come up with anything substantial based on the above hints alone.

My best guess is now that Facebook has moved to adopt its read, watch and listen motto, Google+ will start to incorporate some of the same. By that I mean, perhaps Google will partner with popular news outlets to put more of a focus on news from the actual media in its service, but in a way that allows us to engage with our friends through G+ in a topical way? Or maybe Google will begin acquiring music services so we can listen to music during hangouts in a sort of “Jukebox”-like fashion, enabling users to share and play music together in realtime? What about movies — what if Google+ starts sponsoring actual movies on the service that we can now watch with friends on G+ Hangouts? Or what about? Or? Or even?! …

While I’d love to sit here and imagine the possibilities, your guess is as good as mine. With Google officially hinting that media sharing is receiving attention in a coming feature, what do you think Google+ will have up its sleeves? Weigh in below.

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