I've always found myself nervous when Q&A sessions come up at a talk or presentation - I want to ask a question but can never find the willpower to actually put my hand up and ask it. Slides Q&A, in the latest version of Slides, appears like it might remedy or at least go some way to fixing that situation with its digital, typically Google-y approach to question and answer sessions.

With the update, Q&A is open all through the talk, with a link on the presentation screen. The audience is able to submit questions to the speaker, which can then be voted up or down by other members of the audience. At the end of the talk, the speaker can look at the questions asked and choose some to answer.

It's a smart system, although it could be argued that it takes the human element out of Q&A. It also causes audience members to be looking down at their phones during the talk, which maybe isn't so good. However, if it gets the relevant, thoughtful questions asked, that might be a fair trade-off.

The Google Apps update blog points out a few things to note:

  • You can only use Slides Q&A if you have edit or comment access to that Slides presentation.
  • By default, any user in your domain can submit a question. If your organization permits external sharing, you can allow external users to submit questions as well.

If you'd like more info on the new Q&A feature, check out this Help topic.

Google has also added a new laser pointer to the web, which is cool:

Just choose the laser pointer option from the toolbar and move your mouse, and a red laser-like dot will appear in the same place on screen, helping your audience know where to look and when.

Both of these changes are rolling out via server-side updates, so they'll arrive when they arrive. If you want the latest APK, uploaded today, it's available at APK Mirror.