Google launches Hangout series ‘Versus’, featuring Richard Branson and Julian Assange in its first debate

Google launches Hangout series ‘Versus’, featuring Richard Branson and Julian Assange in ...

For the most part we’ve seen Google+ turn into a great marketing tool for celebrities to connect with their fans, from Japanese girlbands and Egyptian pop stars to international stars like David Beckham and Will.I.Am. In between all the star-studded Hangouts, we’ve also had seen some interesting political and global issues discussed, whether with US President Obama or in a conversation between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Google has announced an interesting twist on how Hangouts are going to be used in a new series of debates called Versus. So what is Versus all about?

Versus…will give you the chance to question people who are close to the decisions being made on topical issues, on both sides of the debate. Real-time voting on the channel will also let the speakers know how their arguments are resonating with viewers.

The first debate will focus on the topic of the War on Drugs and will feature the opinions of a wide variety of celebrities, politicians and tycoons including +Richard Branson+Russell Brand+Julian Assange, as well as the former Presidents of Mexico and Brazil, among others. The debate will be moderated by BBC journalist +Emily Maitlis.

To find out more about the first debate, check out Versus’ introductory video below:

While Google+ has more often than not found itself the subject of debate, it’s turning the tables and with Versus, by hosting the debate. This should go at least some way towards keeping users on the social network a little longer than the supposed average 3 minutes a month.

Read next: A different kind of FOSS at Facebook: "Friends Of Sheryl Sandberg"