So Google is taking the college admissions process virtual. A recent Google study found that nine in 10 students use the Internet to research higher education institutions. “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” says Jiang. “Google+’s goals in the higher education space are closely aligned with that mission which is to work with colleges and universities to help students access information about the college application process.”
Essentially, Google wants to be your new college counselor (and promote the floundering Google+ products to teenagers in the process).
Google+ launched Google Hangouts, a multi-person video chat platform, in the summer of 2011 and Google+ Hangouts On Air (Google Hangouts that can be publicly streamed so that anyone can watch) in the spring of 2012. In April 2012, Duke University worked with Google to stream eight different Google Hangout On Air sessions where current students talked about a certain theme—academics, student research, spirit and sports, etc.—while prospective students watched and posed questions. The most popular of those Hangouts brought in over 1000 viewers—big numbers for a first time endeavor.
“We heard feedback from students who later enrolled that the video chats made campus more accessible. They were able to ask questions to the students that they wouldn’t necessarily ask an admissions officer,” says Cara Rousseau, social media manager at Duke University. “Students who became freshman at Duke said it did influence their decision.”