Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Google - Hangout Comedy Club

Google has partnered with UK charity, Comic Relief, to bring viewers around the world closer to the famed Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  Every year hundreds of musicians and comedians flock to Edinburgh for a chance at their big break, while thousands of fans come to see their favorite acts or the next big thing.  Gigs take place in small venues across the city during the festival, but now a selection of those acts are breaking the digital fourth wall through via the Hangout Comedy Club.  As the official Google blog post describes:

To be part of the Hangout Comedy Club, simply join a Google+ Hangout hosted by one of our famous comedians, including Katherine Ryan, Sanderson Jones and Joey Page. Just like a real comedy club, if you’re brave enough, you can join the front row with up to eight others. If you’d rather sit out of sight, join a Hangout, add your friends, and watch from the safety of the back row.

As in real-life, participants in the front row can heckle the comedians or (and perhaps more likely) become the object of the ridicule from whomever is on stage. [brief aside: is it harder for the comedians to make fun of people when they can't see their whole outfit or make fun of their date?]

Those people in the back row will have the opportunity to use the 'Laugh-O-Meter' which uses face tracking technology to measure how much you're smiling or laughing throughout the set.  Based on the laugh-o-meter score, it will then suggest a donation amount (higher if you laughed heartily) with all proceeds going to the Comic Relief charity.

It's another wonderful example of using technology to bridge the gap between the real and digital worlds.  Check out the intro video below or head on over to Hangout Comedy Club to see the schedule of upcoming events.


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