President Obama completed his first live Google Hangout on Monday, and the results were pretty good. Google has put up the video, and you can see that whether you agree with the answers or not, the overall effect of having Americans from all over the country asking live questions to the President is a very effective way to see the President in a variety of situations. Unfortunately, for this particular interview the questions were strongly moderated and the questions were a bit too vague — the whole interview had a positive vibe and some tough questions weren’t addressed.
The video is shown below, and it starts with a rapid fire section where the five people chosen to ask him questions just check in to say hello. This is kind of what a real Google+ Hangout feels like, with various people chiming in at all times. However, after a few minutes of introductions, Obama fields more serious questions with long answers of up to fifteen minutes each.
The whole time he’s speaking, you can see the other listeners in the bottom of the screen responding to his answers. It’s impressive to see people clapping and reacting to some of his rhetoric, and I can’t help but think we’ll see more of these kinds of interactions with Presidential candidates in the years to come. Live feedback on people’s opinion of a given speech is a powerful tool and helps people get a little vision into the context and atmosphere around a given issue.