A googol ways you say? Preposterous! Yes, it's true, a googol (that's 1 followed by 100 zeros) is hardly a number any sociable person can wrap their head around, but for the sake of this post it was fitting because I'm talking about Google (and yes, that's where they got the name). As a skeptic and educator, I've always been fascinated with how to share ideas and resources, and it's hard to argue that anyone has done more to satisfy that craving than Google. I've always used their "basic package" (Gmail, Calendar, Docs/Drive, Maps), to veritable addiction I might add, but recently I've felt a gravitational pull towards their tools on the periphery. Things like G+, Hangouts, and the mysterious YouTube package including HOA (Hangouts on Air) and Live Events.
As part of my work with the Library of Congress, we recently conducted our inaugural live broadcast using some of these very tools. Now, we did have the luxury of a NewTek Tricaster, three video cameras and some experience on our side, but I was still very impressed with the ease of the broadcasting and the speed of the archiving. We had the potential for a worldwide audience and the minute the day ended, we had a fully recorded archive up on YouTube...for FREE! Here it is if you have 6 hours to spare. There are actually some great talks if you have the time.
As part of the day, we also used a Google Hangout to hear from a speaker living in New York who couldn't travel to Denver (oh the demands on an 18 year old), but really wanted to convey his message to our live audience. No problem! Ok, in retrospect no problem, but having missed our trial run the night before, I was skeptical of success to say the least. I'd done my research, so I knew the ins and outs of the tool, but Murphy's Law was undoubtedly licking its chops at this situation. Jumped into G+, sent an invite to a hangout, a mildly concerning delay and then voilà! An audience of 200 educators were listening to a passionate diatribe from an 18 year old in New York (Nikhil Goyal for those interested - scrub ahead to 5:38:30 for his talk).
Is Google a capitalistic money-hungry monster? Something of the sort, but they've also done more to revolutionize education and provide opportunity for sharing and connecting like never before. My recent first-hand experience didn't blow my mind, but it did solidify what I already knew. I love living side by side with a Googol ways I can connect and share in 2014.