The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the world’s largest art festival, and can be hard to score a ticket or a hotel room if you haven’t planned ahead. For this year’s currently ongoing festival, Google+ paired with UK charity Comic Relief to host a series of Hangouts, where audiences from around the world can watch and participate in comedy shows from their own sofa. They are given the option to donate money based on how much they enjoy the show, and that is determined by a ‘laugh-o-meter’ that measures how much they guffawed during a show.
Google+ lists particular shows will be viewable as a Hangout. People at home can choose to be viewable by the comedian, meaning they can have a true comedy club experience, including the risk of being heckled, but can also be fully immersed in the experience. Or they can choose to be invisible to the comedian, and just enjoy the show. Either way, throughout the night, Google+ monitors how much you laugh and then calculates that into an optional donation amount at the end of the night, which will go to Comic Relief, who works to tackle poverty and social injustice.
The collaboration is a unique way to use digital technology to create an immersive experience whilst also encouraging donations by making viewers aware of how much they enjoyed the show (that they just watched for free) and how easy making a donation would be.
Watch the video below to see the Google+ Edinburgh Fringe Hangout explained: