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It’s not a secret that technology plays an imperative role in the daily functioning of our life. In other words, technology has made our life easier. We can call our friends, set video conferences among company partners, or rendezvoused with colleagues just with a flick of fingers. The world has come together because of technology. We don’t have to meet the people for all the activities we are set up to. We can do all those virtually. Many companies and enterprises are dependent upon the technology for virtual meeting conferences nowadays. It has saved not only their money but also valuable time. Many big and small enterprises use apps or internet browsers to conduct meetings, virtual seminars or conferences nowadays. They know the time is valuable. So, they conduct virtual meetings or conferences while sitting inside their home or offices. It doesn’t only help in making their business plan easy to proceed but also helps in finishing the projects in time as a large number of participants take part in finishing the projects. Google Hangouts is used mainly by the big firm and enterprises for the various motive and purposes. The participants simply schedule the meeting and the meeting is done through virtual conferences or video talk. Participants don’t have to be in the same room or the country to attend the virtual conferences, seminars or meetings. Not to mention, they can move around the room and still attend the video conferences. This paper aims to focus on the Diversity of the Users, and the ICT Barriers in the Google Hangouts and data method used based on the literature review of published papers, journals, and articles.
For the data collection method, I am going to interview hearing impaired and visually impaired people by preparing different Questionnaire and ask them how they feel about using Google Hangouts and published in this paper. For this data collection method, I am going to consult and seek help of my brother in my country who works as a senior counsellor for people who are disabled and provide him the Questionnaire I prepare. I will ask for his help to prepare Google Hangouts call between me and those people who are visually impaired and hearing impaired. For this data collection method, I might ask them to have video call with me in Google Hangouts separately or in a group and later published the results in this paper as well.
ICT barriers are simply defined as a barrier or problems while using technological equipment. We use technological equipment to sustain the quality of life in daily basis. The advancement of technology makes it easier for us. We write an email, make phone calls, make video calls, set up video conferences and meetings and so on. However, all of us are not lucky enough to enjoy technological advancement. People who are disabled may or may not be able to enjoy the full features provided by Information and Communication technology. It is true that some people have a hard time accessing those apps. For instance, visually impaired people will have trouble accessing the video conference tool or other video call apps with no Universal design interfaces for them. Likewise, hearing impaired people will not find it easy to communicate through video call apps when other users don’t understand their gesture language. Moreover, it will be difficult for autistic people to set up the video conference call without the help of other people. They may have trouble clicking the mouse of the computer.
Google hangouts is a web application platform where users can set up, plan and schedule video conferences. The video can be archived and can be recorded into Google + account or YouTube account without any conundrums. The paper further states that since Google Hangouts doesn’t need any specific software installation, video conference has become easily accessible. Not to mention, Hangouts is free for all and user-friendly. However, if users need to connect the other person’s number or landline through Hangouts, the charge might include. As far it is concerned with the call charges, the call to U. S. A and Canada is completely free. The call charge varies with the locations of the country.
The paper by Rafaeli et al. infers that Google hangouts is a virtual platform that allows users to interact with colleagues, strangers or online acquaintances through text, video, and audio channels. Any friends or group of friends can create video conferences through Google Hangouts. Nowadays, many companies use Google Hangouts to set up the virtual meeting and talk about their projects and for face to face interaction. Some interviews are done through google hangouts as well. Ellis Hamburger states that before Google Hangouts came out into the existence, Google had several similar apps like Google Talk, Google + messenger. Back then, Google talk was the best experiences with the users for instant messaging. But due to the emerging competition among other apps like WhatsApp and Facebook, Google made a decision to come up with something new. That is when they come up with Google Hangouts which replaces Google Talk and Google + messenger.
Moreover, the article infers that the Hangouts app is available not only on Android but also on iOS and Chrome. All the messages users sent and received are recorded in Google’s cloud which can be accessed from any Hangout app. Since the messages are recorded online, there’s an option where users can also delete their conversation history if they want and go completely off the record. Diversity in Google Hangouts Each individual has their own unique traits. Regardless of age, gender, sex, race, background, and nationality, a variety of apps are available for free or paid in the app store or browser. Hence, the advancement of technology has no discrimination. We can access the technological tools or apps easily. We can call from one place to another and from one country to another just with the technological apps provided on the internet.
Google Hangouts takes the diversity of its users seriously. Taking into consideration of users’ wants and needs, Google has done a great job with Google Hangouts interfaces the google talk lacked previously. Google Hangouts has been a great help for the messaging, and video chatting. The use of emojis and avatars make it more fun to use. The easy interface does a great help to set up the Hangouts calls. The users can access the Google Hangouts in both mobile and internet browser. For those users who use chrome browser, the interface is already built in. Furthermore, Google Hangouts is accessible to those who have Gmail account or Google+ account. For the internet explorer users, they have to install a separate plugin in order to access and take advantages of Google Hangouts. Furthermore, Google Hangouts has a feature that let users video chat with up to 25 participants. Previously it was only up to 10 users. The extended participants feature among users has made easy to hold video conferences or meetings with much larger groups. It doesn’t only save time, but also money to hold the meeting. Since participants don’t have to attend the meeting in a place, they are never late for the video conferences. According to the survey done in 2015 (2015), 7% of internet users aged 16-24 used Google Hangouts for messaging and video call. However, the percentage is high in the age group of 25-34 where 8% uses Hangouts whereas only 2% of internet users aged 55-64 used Hangouts which is very low compared to other age groups. 5% and 4% of internet users aged 35-44 and 45-54 respectively used Google hangouts for chat message and VoIP. With the above data, it is clear that Google Hangouts is slightly popular among all type of age groups. Though retiring people percentage use of Google is very low, another age group people percentage is also low compared to other social video apps like Facebook and WhatsApp.
The article Bandyopadhyay (2015) states that Google strongly encouraged users to shift from Google Talk to Google Hangouts in 2015. The article further states that with the features of instant messaging, SMS, internet phone calls and video conferencing, Google Hangouts has other myriad features with simple functionality and interfaces. In addition to this, Users with slow internet speed connection could use Hangouts without facing any hurdles or issues while accessing the apps. For the countries who have the slowest internet connection, they will not have issues regarding the video conferences like other apps. The versatility features of Google Hangouts not only let big enterprises and firms to proceed their plans but also help students in myriad ways. Students do their projects as a teamwork through Google Hangouts. Moreover, students are learning through online. According to the survey done by the paper, students had a higher level of satisfaction using a synchronous tool like Google Hangouts than asynchronous communication tools such as discussion boards and email. The paper further states that it made student develop a sense of community while using Google Hangouts for team projects. According to the paper, researchers found that the time schedule was a challenging task. However, when they set up the time schedule, everything went smoothly. The student faced other challenges while reaching out to the inactive participants or who held no responsibility in the projects. Because of this, they are drawn back and couldn’t complete their projects on time.
Online learning or education has a great impact on student’s life. Students are taking as much as advantages they can get from the internet. They have access to various online learning features. Not only this, students are now starting to learn through a video call. Because of the large group of participants in Hangouts, students are able to work as a teamwork without any pressure. They share the problems they are facing in the projects with the team and combat the problems as a team. Communicating in a group or team have psychological benefit as well. It lets students be more creative and share their opinions with the fellow members as well.
The paper Roseth, Akcaoglu et al. (2013) infer that Google Hangouts not only supports video call with multiple users but also other Google application activities like Sketch-Up, Docs, Spreadsheets, Presentation, and screen sharing. Because Google Hangouts video calls are recorded and stored on the internet and YouTube, it will not be a problem for other users to review the video call again. These reviewing features let students review and watch the recorded conversation again where they have missed and prepare a healthy discussion for ongoing projects.
Google Hangouts has been a great help for graduate students in medical education too. The free application creates an interactive environment for participants. Google Hangouts on Air (GHOA) includes integration of real-time events and YouTube Broadcasting to a live in Public Hangouts session. Moreover, Google Hangouts on Air (GHOA) directly broadcast education contents regardless of separate locations of the unlimited size audiences or participants. GHOA has 3 major features: it is free, easily broadcast to an unlimited number of audiences, and the video call can be archived for future references and discussions.
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