If you want to be at the forefront of video social networking, Seattle is the place to be, not Silicon Valley.
About the same time, Google trial-launched its broadside against Facebook, the social Google+ service. One of the most arresting features is Hangouts, a service that lets up to 10 people video-chat simultaneously. And it’s designed by a bunch of engineers just the other side of Lake Washington in Seattle.
Hangouts is the creation of a team run by Chee Chew, engineering director at Google’s 500-person Kirkland office, who has been at the company for four years after 14 years at neighbors Microsoft.
Comparisons are inevitable, but Chew says Hangouts is aiming for a different sort of user than Facebook and Skype. It’s not really video-conferencing, he says – with a set time, leader and agenda – it’s more like hanging randomly with whoever happens to be around.