At the beginning of this week, Google began rolling out Hangouts On Air to all Google+ users, and now anyone with a webcam can broadcast their conversation to the world.
Google’s engineering director Chee Chew announced on the official Google blog on Monday that Hangouts On Air could now be accessed by all Google+ users.
Hangouts On Air turns Google’s original video-conference facility into a live broadcast medium by allowing users to record and share hangouts across the web.
When you start a hangout with Hangouts On Air, a live player is posted to your Google+ profile page and your YouTube channel. Up to nine Google+ users you invite to the hangout will be able to participate, but any number of viewers elsewhere will be able to watch and listen.
A counter will show you how many people are viewing your hangout, and people can even tune in after the live broadcast, as Hangouts On Air records the entire session and posts it on your page as soon as it ends. You can then edit the video using YouTube’s Video Manager editing tools, and the original post will automatically update to contain the new URL.
Social video broadcasting
Hangouts On Air is a new way to create, collaborate on and share video content across the web, and the service will be rolled out gradually over the next few weeks. Certain high-profile Google+ users have had access since September, but now anyone with a webcam, microphone and broadband connection can host a live video event.
As with everything on Google+, users can give content their +1 approval and comment on videos and live broadcasts. This new form of social video broadcasting has great potential and could be a new driver of online video content. And if Google extends the service to mobile devices, as it has done with the original Hangouts, things might just get even more interesting.