We are pleased to have Yuyun Wirawati from Li Ka Shing Library (Singapore Management University) to share her insights with us. Make sure you click all tabs (Discover, Explore, and Activities) to get to the end of the lesson.
My 7-year-old vivacious niece loves to invite people for Skype or Hangouts… not because she likes video chat, but because she likes to comment on people’s appearances! Her favorite comment: “Ha..ha..ha… your nose looks super BIG..ha..ha..ha..”. Oh my, how I wish we can just stick to the old-phone-calls.
You must have used your phone to communicate verbally (phone calls) or textually (SMS, WhatsApp). Now let’s communicate visually! There are many jargons used to describe this type of visual communication: video-chat, video-call, video-conference, etc. For this week’s Thing, we are going to explore two tools that enable video communication: Skype and Google Hangouts.
- Skype can be installed on your computer, smartphone, tablet, or even TV and home phones (although I’ve never tried using Skype with my TV).
- To activate Skype apps, you need to create a Skype account. Once you have registered for an account, you can start adding your friends.
- You can make free Skype to Skype calls.
- You can also use your Skype to make calls to mobile/landline numbers. This service, however, is not free.
- Explore Skype’s features: you can make one-on-one or group video calls; you can even send files and photos during a call.
- If your Internet connection is slow, you can disable the video and just communicate verbally. You can also mute the microphone/voice, or just use text for chatting.
- Hangouts can be installed on your computer, smartphone or tablet.
- To activate Hangouts apps, you need to create a Google account. Once you have an account, you can start adding your friends.
- Explore Hangouts’ features: the computer version has more features, such as screenshare and home phone calls.
- If your Internet connection is slow (or you want to avoid displaying your nose on the screen), you can disable the video and just communicate verbally. You can also mute the microphone/voice, or just use text for chatting.
Hannah Becker has made feature comparisons between Hangouts, Skype and some other communication tools.
- View a Google+ Hangout and try a video hangout with a friend
- Skype – download the Skype app, set up an account and Skype with someone
Examples of use of Google+ Hangout
- University of Michigan
Nicole Scholtz, a librarian with University of Michigan offers assistance with finding and using geospatial data, using ArcGIS and QuantumGIS software, and advanced uses of Excel via Google+ Hangout screencast function.
- NASA Hangout+ Air
NASA is using Hangouts+ air to interact with users and let them find out more about what NASA doing.
(Complete Activities 1 – 4 before Saturday, 1 March, 10:30 am, if you want to join our Hang-out session)
- Create an account with Google if you do not have one yet. Take note that having a Gmail account means you already have a Google Account.
- Install Hangouts, either on your smartphone, tablet or computer.
- Login to Hangouts using your Google account. Make sure that you can login successfully.
- Share with us your Google Account user name so that we can invite your for a hang-out session (Sat, 1 Mar, 10:30am).
- On Sat, 1 Mar, 10:30am, SG and PH time, please login to your Hangouts.
- I shall invite you for a hangout session, and…
- Let’s hangout!
What are the benefits of these communication tools?
(Lower communications cost. You can communicate to your friends and family, for free – except for the internet cost. Interestingly, Skype has this disclaimer at its website: “Skype is not a replacement for your telephone and can’t be used for emergency calling” :))
What are the benefits of these communication tools in library setting?
(Again, lower communications cost. The Library has international vendors, and sometimes I need to communicate with them verbally, especially when the email conversation is getting us nowhere. After an IDD phone conversation, I would need to fill up forms, sign forms and submit even more forms. Plus, the Library would need to pay the IDD fee. Nowadays, I just Skype with the vendors and happily say goodbye to the forms.)
What kind of practical applications can you think of for this visual communication?
(Remote office. In one of the meetings that our library had, we suddenly realized that we needed one colleague’s input to finalize a decision. She was not at the office at that time so we decided to ‘Skype’ her. Through a Skype video-call, she was able to see us and vice versa. We then continued our meeting with her participation – she did not need a chair, though.)
Can we leverage on these tools to support and assist library users?
(Yes, I would think so. Example: I used Hangouts to deliver my talks to students from other institutions. This allows me to remain in my office, yet still have the interaction with my audience. Unlike other web-conference tools, students are much more adaptable to Hangouts and most of them already have Google accounts. I bet you can think of many other examples.)
Thing #7’s Guest Blogger
Yuyun is a Business Research Librarian at Singapore Management University. Yuyun loves to play social games on her Android tablet. She uses a pseudonym, and her biggest fear is that one day her students will find out her gaming name.