12+ Questions about how people use Google+ Hangouts

Over the last few weeks I have started a number of pages on Google+ to test out different things and try to connect different types of niche audiences. I have enjoyed the opportunity to bring others together and watch some great things happen.

Over the course of the last few months I have been paying particular attention to the way that people use certain features of Google+. One of those all-important features in the Hangout feature. Yes, we have had Skype, Facetime, MSN and even NetMeeting to do face-to-face conversations from around the globe, but traditionally these were only done with people we had already established relationships with. Google has given the online world the opportunity to connect with virtually anyone with a webcam and a microphone and the results have been simply amazing.

In an effort to learn more about how users utilize this component and the features within it, I set out to conduct a survey much like the one I did previously (see Google+ in Numbers) to find out exactly what users are doing. I want to extend a very personal thank you to all of the users that participated in the survey. Without your valuable time, there would be no results to publish. So without further adieu…

12+ Questions about how people use Google+ Hangouts
You can find the original survey by clicking here. Click the image after each question to see the full breakdown of results for that question.

What is the Ideal Number of Participants in a Google+ Hangout?

Surprisingly, 30% of respondents suggested that there should ideally be more than 10 participants in a Google+ Hangout. 31% stated that it is fine where it is and 39% stated there should be somewhere between two and nine people in each hangout.

What is the Ideal Number of Participants in a Google+ Hangout?

When Someone Joins an Active Google+ Hangout, Should their Audio be Automatically Muted?

81% said Yes and 18% said No.

Have you ever muted a user in a Google+ Hangout?

65% said Yes and 34% said No. Keep in mind that a certain percentage of users access Google+ exclusively from their mobile device which, from my understanding, does not allow them to mute other users or be muted on some platforms.

If you answered ‘Yes’ to the previous question, why did you mute the user?

To take the previous question a little further, I was curious to see why people muted other users in a hangout. According to the results, 86% of people that mute other users do so because there is too much background noise. 75% of the people that responded yes muted other users when there was an audible echo or feedback from the hangout. 19% muted someone when they interrupted the conversation at hand, 47% said they muted because the user was talking to other people in the background or on the phone, 21% did so when the users volume was too loud and 8% and 16% did it to annoy the users or for fun, respectively. 10% of respondents muted a user in a hangout for a reason other than those listed.

Have you ever blocked a user in a hangout?

According to the survey response, only 36% of users have blocked someone during a hangout, the other 64% claim they have never blocked a user during a hangout.

If you answered ‘Yes’ or ‘Sometimes’ to the previous question, why did you block the user?

I asked a follow-up question to see why the respondents that have blocked other users in a hangout did so. 22% said they did it for inappropriate behavior while only 1%-5% of respondents say they did it because the user was either annoying, did not have a microphone or webcam, poor audio quality or because they were utilizing a mobile device and did not mute their microphone. The largest percentage, 69%, said they blocked a user during a hangout for another reason.

If someone interrupts or talks over you while you are talking in a Hangout, how do you respond?

Getting cutoff mid-sentence is never fun, but with communications stretching every corner of the globe, a short delay between users can always be expected. When interrupted, respondents let the user continue talking 64% of the time. 43% of the time they would continue talking whereas 36% of the time they would tell the user to wait until they were finished with their current thought. Respondents claim they only muted, blocked or yelled at the user between 1%-9% of the time. Three of the respondents had a sense of humor and stated that they quit the hangout immediately and “began knitting  the afghan for their mother.”

Do you follow the conversation in the chat window during a Google+ Hangout?

66% of respondents claim that they follow the sidebar whereas 29% claim they only pay attention “sometimes.” Five survey respondents claim that they follow the conversation in the chat window during a Google+ Hangout.

Do you normally invite ‘Public’ to your Hangouts?

I felt this question was going to have some very interesting information associated with it. When you first experience Google+, you probably do not have a lot of people that you know in the outside world openly connecting with you, so you are more likely to participate in public conversations in hangouts. However, as you develop your circles and relationships with other people on the network, you continue to close in your conversations and typically do not “hang out” in “public” as often. The results were largely parallel with my assumption as only 23% of survey respondents stated that they normally invite “Public” to their hangouts. 29% do not go public and the largest group of respondents (47%) stated that they only “sometimes” go public with their hangouts.

Does it bother you when another user invites ‘Extended Circles’ or ‘Public’ to a limited hangout? If ‘Yes,’ why?

55% of survey respondents are bothered when other users in the hangout invite  ‘Extended Circles’ or ‘Public’ to a limited hangout. The survey respondents that were bothered said 81% of the time they were bothered because it was a ‘Limited’ hangout for a reason. 53% of the time they stated that the users that invited additional or ‘Public’ circles never asked or stated that they were sending the invitation. Only 6% indicated that they only like to talk to people that they know or that they are uncomfortable with users who speak foreign language. Interestingly, though, of the responses, only 30% felt that only the originator of the hangout should be able to control invitations.

Have you ever been less than truthful about why you were leaving a hangout?

I wanted to have a little fun with this question, but the respondents were elusive as 55% of respondents stated “No, I’m like Jim Carey in that movie, I can’t tell a lie!” 17% admitted, though, that they said they were going to sleep and ended up entering another hangout. 21% said at one time they said they were going to ‘be right back’ but never returned. 13% have said that they were running late for something and then spent another 2 hours on Google+ after leaving the hangout.

When using hangouts, do you find it annoying when users don add-ons such as reindeer antlers and mustaches?

The Google+ Developers added the toy box filled with mustaches and later reindeer antlers to help people laugh and relax when they entered a hangout. They certainly added some silliness and made things more comfortable for first timers. Only 8% of survey respondents were annoyed when other users donned reindeer antlers or mustaches. 19% were sometimes annoyed and 72%, the gross majority, didn’t mind at all.

Have you ever viewed or participated in an ‘On Air’ Google+ Hangout?

At the time of the survey, 49% of respondents had participated in a Google+ Hangout On Air whereas 45% had not, but would like to. 6% of respondents were not interested in participating in ‘On Air’ hangouts.

Do you think the Suggested User List should contain less celebrities and more “regular people” that engage and interact with the community, such as in hangouts?

This question has been included in tons of debates about the Suggested User List, so I thought it would be appropriate to include in the survey. According to respondents, a whopping 89% feel that there should be less celebrities and more “regular people” that engage and interact with the community on a regular basis. Only 10% of respondents like the Suggested User List as it stands.

Who would you like to hangout with that you haven’t had the chance to?

I wanted to leave a couple of text entry questions to see what survey respondents would leave behind. Instead of giving you a simple list or metric, I decided to morph the responses into word clouds to give you a better indication of the amplification of responses:

EXTRA CREDIT: After meeting people in virtual hangouts, which G+ member are you most interested in meeting in real life (HIRL) and why?

I did the same with responses to this open-ended question as above:

Most importantly I asked survey respondents what they thought of the survey.

69% said it was ‘AMAZING!’ whereas 13% said it was too long and 4% said it was too short. There was also a follow-up question to see what other questions users would have liked to see on the survey. I am using those as constructive criticism and feedback towards the creation of future studies.

I hope you enjoyed the results of this survey and hope that you find this information helpful to your brand, organization, business or simple personal benefit. If you would like me to present this data to your company or organization, please visit my Consulting Services or Contact Me page. I look forward to bringing you more educational material as I find time to conduct research and analyze the results. Special thanks to +matthew rappaport for his help in creating this particular survey. Please be sure to follow +Statistics on Google for more of this great stuff. Happy Plussing!


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