Yesterday was a bit of a disastrous day when I was using Google+ hangouts: bad sound, frozen images and full-scale collapses. When I reported on my troubles, it turned out I was not alone. Despite raving reviews and – also in my eyes – a revolutionary use of the internet, quite some complaints popped up.
Searching for solutions I got from several sources a remarkable advise: switch from Chrome to Firefox or Internet explorer. That was a strange advice, since Chrome is developed by Google and I assumed Hangouts would work better on Chrome than on any of the other browsers. (I learned that Safari was also not a good choice.)
So, today I tried testing hangouts in Firefox, and it is too early to draw any conclusions, but my sources might be right. Attached is a partly recording of my test. As you might note: not all went smooth. Just like under Chrome, getting the settings for sound and camera right was not easy. Not because it is difficult to do, but when the hangout is running, all seems to go slow. And for the sound you depend on external feedback: you might hear some differences in the sound quality during the recording. Yesterday, I thought I had dealt with the correct setting ahead of a hangout, but sound still worked out miserable.
What worked excellent today was the screenshare: under Chrome the computer screen starts to tremble, the images freeze and I do not see the shared screen (although it does show up at the YouTube recording). Under Firefox there was a short temporary freeze, but the system restored and I could watch the shared screen.
My lower third app worked excellent, although it disappears once, when I tried to play a YouTube video in the hangout. That did not work under either Chrome or Firefox. I still want to do some additional testing, preferably with a few more people, since a larger number of participants seems to drain the resources and cause some of the crashes, at least, that was my impression. Full scale collapses occurred with sessions where several people participated.
On Thursday I want to start my China Weekly Hangout and hope then all is well. I have focused more on the content, getting the right people together, picking the right subject, assuming that technology would not be an issue. Obvious it is a wrong assumption. Let me know if you have more feedback or want to join in more testing. (+Fons Tuinstra)
I still hope these problems get worked out. I’m not a software developer, so I prefer to stick to one browser. It would be a bit of a nuisance I have to switch fully from Chrome to Firefox.