I briefly joined Dick Eastman's Google+ hangout last night. If you haven't been keeping up with the Google+ news, hangout lets you have an ad hoc video conference with several people. One person is in the main screen and others are below in smaller boxes. There is also place to open a text chat window if you don't have a microphone. (Wish I had thought to get a screen shot but I bet some other bloggers probably did.)
Someone starts a hangout and it shows up in the stream. (This is like a Facebook news feed.) You click to join the hangout, and then install some software. This was quick and easy. As usual, I had to let my firewall know it was OK. Hopefully you have a firewall will need to do this too.
The technical experience was mixed. People could see me, and I could see some people. Other people showed up as silhouettes. One person was just a green box. Likewise, I could hear some people, but no one could hear me.
After playing with my audio settings to no avail, I decided to exit the hangout and restart. Alas, when I tried to rejoin I saw:
Truth be told, I always have this problem with my microphone. It's the default one built into my laptop, and I need to break down and get a good headset. I even know which one to get, I just need to do it! I really think the problem was at my end. At least in my case.
But all and all, I like hangouts. And I think once everyone gets their technical 'stuff' figured out, I'll be hangin out more often. Hmmm, wonder if the Android app supports Hangouts. I'll have to check.