Astronauts and Obama host Google+ Hangouts

Sharon Gaudin
15 February, 2013
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Google’s social network, Google+, is getting attention from the likes of astronauts and the US president.

NASA announced that, for the first time, the space agency will host a Google+ hangout at 11am ET on Feb. 22 (3am, Feb 23 AEST) with astronauts aboard the International Space Station flying more than 380km above Earth.

The hangout enables a face-to-face online chat for as many as 10 people, though thousands can watch it live on Google+ or YouTube.

According to NASA, people on the hangout can ask the astronauts questions, while others can submit questions via video. The video questions, which need to be 30 seconds or less, can be submitted to YouTube with the hashtag #askAstro. They must be submitted by Feb. 12 and must use the hashtag to be considered.

To ask real-time questions during the hangout, user can submit the questions on Google+ or on Twitter using the same hashtag: #askAstro. Comments or questions can also be posted on NASA’s Facebook page on the morning of the event.

However, the astronauts aren’t the only ones in the hangout spotlight.

Just two days after his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama hosted a hangout at 8:50am this morning (AEST), where he tool real-time questions in what the administration is calling a “Fireside Hangout.” The hangout is a 21st century version of the famous Fireside Chats that President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered over the radio in the 1930s and ’40s.

The Fireside Hangout can be watched on the page, the White House Google+ page and channel.

Obama, who has been a savvy social networking user since he first ran for president, held a hangout in January 2012, taking questions after his State of the Union address.

Sharon Gaudin covers the internet and web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon’s RSS feed. Her email address is

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