U.S. President Barack Obama will become the latest high-profile broadcaster for Google+ Hangouts, the Web-based video chat platform that is one of the more popular applications on the company's social network.
President Obama, who is holding the State of the Union address this evening at 9 p.m. EST, will host a Hangout Monday, Jan. 30 at 5:30 p.m. EST. President Obama will answer via live stream a selection of questions users have submitted through the White House YouTube channel.
Ramya Raghavan, YouTube's news and politics manager, said in a blog post that video questions of up to 20 seconds are preferred, though text queries will also be considered. Raghavan also noted erstwhile participants must tell YouTube a little bit themselves in the description.
Some lucky participants with top-voted questions will be selected to join the President in the Google+ Hangout to take part in the live conversation.
Users may submit questions until midnight EDT on Saturday, Jan. 28. As of this writing, 37,560 people have submitted 19,351 questions and cast 249,322 votes. Neither President Obama nor the White House will see the questions that will be asked prior to the interview.
However, the President and his cabinet can certainly get an idea of the questions users want answers to just by looking at the White House's YouTube site.
The page includes such questions as "Mr. President, how exactly are you going to help many people like me who have not found a job, and are in Debt due to that? I have not seen any "job creation" in my area of Florida." There is also this gem from a teenage in Serbia: "Will you ever stop crushing and fighting the rest of the World?"
Originally launched as a video chat app to let up to 10 users communicate online in a session, Hangouts have been expanded to enable broadcast sessions.
The capability, dubbed Hangouts on Air, is a so-called Google+ extra that lets users broadcast and record their session. When a user is "on air," up to nine other people can join the Hangout, though anyone can tune in to the live broadcast.
It's a safe bet that many more than 10 people will be tuning in to see and hear the President Obama Hangout next Monday.
It will be interesting to see what questions receive the most votes and are asked of the President, the latest politician to use Hangouts to broadcast to the masses, joining Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. The Dalai Lama and will.i.am from the Black-eyed Peas have also used Hangouts.
Google+ and YouTube aren't the only places Obama and his cabinet are spreading social media savoir faire. AllThingsDigital reported that White House promised it will answer questions asked by users of the question-and-answer Website Quora.
Quora is hosting this special page to live-stream video of Obama's address tonight and is asking users to submit and follow questions about economic and domestic policies. Users must submit questions by Wednesday at 8 .m. PT. The questions will be answered during the coming days.