I was finally able to get into Google+ this morning. I think my invitations to the service from my friends and associates were getting caught in my Gmail trash from what I can tell in my postmortem investigation. Today, I just tried to login to the service, and I was finally met with this Join screen:
I’m interested in Google+, but I don’t want to leap in now using my ordinary Gmail address. I want to save my full enthusiasm for Google+ when it is finally added to Google Apps — where I spend all day, every day, and every waking hour, working.
I read a curious Google+ post from Googler Chee Chew explaining how he wanted to expand the scope of Google+ to include the Deaf and native American Sign Language users in Hangouts — the group video chat feature of the new service:
one area that i’m personally quite passionate about is facilitating communications and community for the deaf. my grandfather, aunt, and uncle were/are all deaf. while i’m very much a novice, i find ASL to be a beautiful expressive language. i hope that hangouts can be awesome for the deaf & hh community as well as the hearing.
that said, i know that Hangouts aren’t good enough yet for this purpose. voice switching on the loudest speaker isn’t the right cue in this world; we need an indicator for who has the floor; i’m sure there are subtle issues that i don’t know.
so i’m asking for help. i’d like to invite a set of deaf/hh users and their signing families into Google+. we need folks who will actively dogfood Hangouts with their friends and family. we need folks who will partner with us, giving us feedback and iterating with us. i’ll jump them to the front of the invite line to get into Google+. (don’t tell Vic!)
It is clear Chee Chew does not spend a lot of time with native Deaf signers — and, to his credit, he confesses as much in his missive — but my greatest disappointment is in the sycophantic comments stream attached to his post encouraging his want for a solution to a non-problem. His commenters are all hankering for a hunk of nothing because Hangouts work just fine right now for the Deaf because the Deaf are not mute and they are not Dumb. The Deaf are definitely not silent or even quiet!
The Deaf can use Deaf Voice — a “Woo!” or somesuch to get attention in a Hangout — or they can knock on the table to give notice they want to speak or they can even tap the microphone itself to get Google+ video chat to give them the floor in hangouts.
I wish someone in that stream were a truth teller to Chee Chew — and let him know that, while his ambition is noble, his search for a solution is unnecessary and needless. He’s trying to create a problem he can fix, but there was never a problem in the first place.