Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cooking School Hangout – The Google+ Way

It was from this Guy Kawasaki G+ post that I came across this Google+ cooking school.  My first thought was… “It would only allow up to 10 participants” due to G+ Hangout’s (current) limitation.  And when I watched their Demo video on their website, I had further doubts because there were a team of 3-4 hosts.  It means that the actual participants would be even less.  Moreover, it appears that the webcam angle was focusing on the ‘head-shot’ and the viewer never really get to see what happened on the counter-top, or stove-top.  Nonetheless, I still think it was a great idea!  So when I saw on their website that they have another live demo this evening, I made sure that I was there to join, before the it is too late.

Look, there a Mouse next to the cutting board!

When I first joined the Hangout, both Lee and Eric were just about to finish their introduction of today’s dish, and the actual prepping was about to begin.  Impressively, the webcam was turned, and as you can see from the screen shot above, everyone was looking at Eric’s chopping board!

The sounds quality and video resolution were absolutely perfect.  They are so good that I actually had to ask Eric what kind of internet connection does he use?  (Cable vs. DSL?)  The answer was Cable, and both Lee and Eric have the “soup’d-up” version of the cable internet.  Unfortunately, a few minutes into the demo, the everyone’s connection was lost, and upon re-connecting, I was first connected to one of the participant who happened to be playing with his daughter.  We both felt embarrassed and awkward and immediately disconnected.  I went back to my G+ Stream, and I was finally able to rejoin the Hangout.  But this time, Eric was having problems with connecting Lee, and he kindly told the few of us who had re-joined that he will have to disconnect, get hold (and connect with) Lee first, and then invite us back into (a new) Hangout.  Without much hassle, we were back on within a minute, and the cooking continued.

Unfortunately, my ‘active’ participation ended right there as I had to interact someone else on the computer to resolve a technical issue.  Although I still kept my Hangout running, and connected, I was NOT participating at all.  I went as far as muting the sound so that I can get onto a land-line conference call without any background noise.  Had there be any question that was directed to me, I would not have gotten it.

After my work had ended about half an hour later, I flipped back to the Hangout and saw that the host-team had already left.  There were about 4 sessions/users remain connected, chatting with each other, but by then, since I have muted my mic and speakers for so long, there really wasn’t any reason for me to get social with the remaining few. 

Overall it was a great experience.  It’s by far the largest Hangout that I have participated.  The team of Lee and Eric showed that they are creative and forward-looking.  (Based on the few minutes that I was able to watch) They gave a great presentation, and they certainly looked professional when talking in front of the camera.  Best of luck to them in whatever level that they are trying to take this experiment into.

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