Google+ Messenger versus Google + Hangouts

Google+ is reportedly struggling but amidst chatter of a failing platform is there anything interesting here for PR and Marketing professionals?

The answer is, of course, yes. This week’s CommsChat  focused on Google+ and during the debate @jonclements and I got chatting and asked ourselves why Google+ wasn’t used for the online event.

I suggested Google+ Messenger would have been a good choice, while John thought a Hangout might be fun.

In reality, both have their own technical problems.  Messenger is a mobile only service, while Hangouts limit the amount of people who can participate.

What happened next?

For experiments’ sake Jon and I had a hangout…

Google+ Hangouts

After the initial shock of having to look at each other, Jon and I had a quite nice conversation, he told me about the CIPR Pride awards that he and his team were up for and I told him about my business.

I was introduced to his wife (incidentally, Jon punches above his weight).  He said nice things about mine.

All in all the experience was good.  We had a conversation and it was useful.  Enjoyable even.


Google+ Messenger

Inspired by our chat, I went off and built a circle of all the PR and marketing people I knew in Manchester and then added them to a Messenger discussion.

Adding the circle all in one go was easy and as @Rickguttridge pointed out, Messenger could be a great way for brands, or celebrities or MDs to connect with a community online and hold a meaningful chat.

In reality, this Messenger session wasn’t conceived with any clear objective beyond experimentation and it quickly turned into a silly conversation full of jokey, show off conversation (I count myself in this).

The chit chat was amusing, light-hearted but ultimately not as rewarding as the one to one conversation with Jon.


What did we learn?

Google+ Hangouts is a more social version of Skype, but we knew that already.  It’s limited but could be expanded to help brands and business people broadcast.

Google+ Messenger is fun and is better than other messenger services because it is a quick and easy way to reach a pre-existing community (i.e.  Google+ circle).

With a purpose or objective it could be a great way to organise a chat, interview or discussion.  The only problem is that Messenger can quickly become a meaningless experience with lots of noise but little signal.


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  • Andrew Thomas

    I’m glad you enjoyed yesterday’s CommsChat. We thought it was a good one too. We’ve had a discussion here, and think that the next time we have a large number of guests,  maybe 4 or 5, we might create a hangout for them, and stream that. So CommsChat would still take place on twitter, but with the opportunity to see the guests reacting as the tweets come in.

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