Saturday, October 6, 2012

Google+, Virtual Honor Flights, Virtual Photo Walks & Veterans!

October 5, 2012 ~ Many of you have heard me talk about the ability to "hangout" via Google+ with some amazing people all over the world. I have personally interacted and met some of these awesome people since Sarah Hill started using hangouts in the news almost a year ago on KOMU Channel 8. It's an awesome thing to be able to be in a hangout with up to 10 other people actually seeing each of them face-to-face with a thin piece of glass between us. Rather than typing behind the screen hoping that your emotion is captured in a post you see the smiles, laughs and body language from those you are talking to. This is all done in a safe manner as I have met these people through someone like Sarah. I have met people from all over the world that I consider friends and would go to them for advice or questions I might have.My network of people is now global rather than just local. It's really an awesome world!

These hangouts were an idea that Google’s senior vice president for engineering, Vic Gundotra, had bounced around and eventually created. Google+ hangouts have taken things to a new level and because of this new platform he allowed anyone in the world (with an internet connection) the ability to "virtually" see, hear, talk and visit locations around the world. One of the neatest things more recently was the 1st  Central Missouri "Virtual" Honor Flight. I was asked by Sarah Hill to help do a hangout with a veteran in Jeff City, MO who was too sick to fly on the real Central Missouri Honor Flight yet wanted to see his memorial in Washington, D.C. while she was taking another veteran on this "virtual" Honor Flight. Using Google+ allowed them to be there with the rest of the veterans as they saw the WW II memorial. Because of so many people behind the scenes as well as several awesome G+'er's being at the different locations (Jimmy Gardner was at BWI airport as the veterans came off the plane and then went over to the WW II memorial, Laurent Jean Philippe was at the beaches of Normandy, France and went into the water which you could hear the waves crash on the land (way awesome) and Michael Tucker in Australia). Bruce Garber & John Butterill own a company called "Virtual Photo Walks" ( and helped this Google + hangout along with Sarah Hill and Scott Scheafer along with other great volunteers allowed these 2 veterans on the first ever "Virtual" Honor Flight. It was an amazing experience to be a part of and one I will never forget. What was really cool is that Vic Gundotra wrote about this experience in an article called "Google+ Goes Looking For Love". (Click on the link below to see the article. The part talking about this specifically is under "Select Audience, Universal Emotion".

How awesome is that? Special thank you to Mike Downes who originally posted this information. Mike has been equally huge on this platform and someone that I consider a ROCK STAR in all of this! A very special thank you to everyone that makes the live and now "virtual" Central Missouri Honor Flights  possible. It take a whole team of people to make this possible. I know it is appreciated. Thank you for caring enough to make this experience.... well, in the words of Chief Master Sergeant Dr. Robert Malone.... AWESOME!


  1. Hey Michele, I still have that shot of you an Jennifer in the hangout, the same one that is used for the Google Media video.
    Been a wild ride, but boy has it been fun!
    Just this week I found an old shot of the first time I was in a mobile hangout from my iPhone with the gang. What was really interesting was that Monday (1st Oct.2012)I was recording a story with a brand new journalist.
    I do look forward to the next time we all meet up together.

  2. Michael Tucker it has been an amazing ride and I can't wait to see where the future takes us! It's so hard to believe that so many of us just met about a year ago... seems like we've been friends for years! Thanks for your friendship my Aussie pal! :)