Google Slides’ new Q&A tool
Posted May 6, 2016on:
I also wondered if the Q&A tool could act as a backchannel (like TodaysMeet) for audience members to become even more active participants of a talk.
The Google Slides update rolled out and I explored the features of the Audience Tool.
In the desktop version, the Audience Tool is activated via a dropdown menu under the “Present” button.
In the mobile app version, the Audience Tool is counterintuitively activated via the “Present to a new video call” option.
Here are ten of my notes on the Audience Tool:
- When you start the tool, an overlay with the URL to access the tool appears over the top of your current slide. The goo.gl shortener to the Audience Tool is convenient, but I also like to provide a QR code to make it easy to access.
- The tool works well on desktop or mobile. If you can type or SMS, you can use the tool.
- It can be used as a basic backchannel, but note the next point.
- The voting up of questions or comments works efficiently and allows popular statements to rise to the top. This also changes the order of entries based on their popularity.
- You cannot thumb up or thumb down your own question. This prevents some abuse.
- Participants are anonymous. If you are signed in to Google Drive, you have the option of being anonymous.
- As the presenter, you have the option of displaying questions or comments via the Audience Tools panel. The questions or comments can be selected one at a time and replace the current slide. Clicking on the slide advances the deck to the next slide.
- If you accidentally close the Audience Tools panel, you need only resume the Presenter View and you have the option of starting a new session or resuming the previous one.
- The Q&A history is saved with the slide deck and appears in the mobile app (three dots menu) and desktop versions (Tools menu) of Google Slides.
- If you close the main Google Slides presentation, the Audience Tool stops working.
I cannot say for sure if the Google Slides Audience Tool is a TodaysMeet or Twitter backchannel killer. At the moment, it:
- does not highlight the users, questions, or comments with different colours;
- provides no options to delete questions or comments;
- has no options for exporting the text for archiving or showing a projector view;
- is not a persistent feature unlike most backchannels tools.
I do not think that most presenters will miss these features. The Google Slides Audience Tool is certainly a threat to other free Q&A and backchannelling tools.