Google Plus is barely more than a month old. And while it's seen staggering growth rates in new user sign-ups during that time, sign-ups alone aren't going to sustain Google Plus' future. Thankfully, it's proving itself useful in a number of ways, particularly with video, and has recently added a huge new component to help keep its members engaged: video games.
Google Plus Hangouts Collaboration
First off, there's a cool new way to use Hangouts, the awesome group video chat app in Google Plus. It's collaboration, and it's done through a nifty little Chrome extension. The extension, from developer Mohamed Mansour, is called Hangouts (naturally), and while it's still in testing and is very buggy, allows for video-based real-time code and document collaboration.
Here's a screenshot from the Techcrunch article:
Awesome. Even if it's buggy as can be, the possibilities are still exciting. It's stuff like this that will take video-for-business from "passing fancy" to "cost-effective solution."
Google Plus Video Games
Google Plus took another big step toward solidifying its future last week with the addition of games. As Facebook's Farmville (as well as countless others) proved, games can keep people glued to their accounts and get people talking and sharing more frequently.
Games now available on Google Plus include Angry Birds, Bejewelled Blitz, Crime City, & Dragons of Atlantis.
Here's a screenshot of how Games looks in Google Plus:
When you click to play any of the games in Plus, you'll get a special reminder that "Games in Google Plus are social." Some games will access your Plus account and display information to people in your circles, though each game has its own privacy explanation at the outset.
ReelSEO testing Hangouts For Internal Communication
Even ReelSEO is stepping up our reliance on Google Plus lately. For instance, Mark (our founder) and I actually live in different states, though we work very closely with one another. For many months, we've used Skype to keep in touch and keep each other in the loop.
But after several weeks of a strange (and vexing) issue on Skype, Mark and I have begun using Hangouts for our ReelSEO-related video calls. And we're loving it. Skype's video quality is a tad bit higher, but Hangouts hasn't crashed, frozen, or given us choppy audio even one time.
(Don't worry, Skype, we still love you, and we haven't given up on you completely yet).
Oh Yeah, More Google Plus Invites
Oh yeah, I almost forgot... we have more Google Plus invites for you.
Since posting early last week with a link to my own 150 invites, we've been bombarded with emails and comments from readers who are dying to get in. So once again... while they last... here's another link with 150 more invites:
And, as always, if any readers have unused invite links they're willing to share with the community, please feel free to drop them in the comments below (thanks!).
I realize that a social network isn't directly related to video, at least not in the strictest sense. But Google Plus is clearly a fan of video.
Hangouts is one of the best video chat apps I've found, and that's before you realize you can actually chat with a bunch of friends all at once. And now, if you're willing to use a buggy extension, you can even collaborate with colleagues long-distance over video chat on Hangouts.
Toss in the new video games, and the inevitable tie-in with YouTube accounts, and you can see that video is likely to always be a central part of what goes on at Google Plus. Which might help explain why so many of our readers are so rabid about getting in.