Monday, May 7, 2012

Google+'s "New Hangouts On Air" Feature

Hangouts on Air image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
One of the more intriguing features of Google+ was Hangouts, which was a sort of video conference where you could broadcast to up to 10 users. This was a cool thing for many artists, who got around the 10 viewer max by rotating them during their broadcast, which is obviously not the ideal way to connect with your fans.

Today Google finally took the wraps off the new and improved version, called Hangouts on Air, that lifts the 10 person limit and basically allows you to stream what might be considered your very own TV channel. Of course, this was possible before with services like Ustream, Justin.TV and Livestream, but HOA supposedly has a terrific video codec and a lossless audio codec, so the quality of the broadcast is said to be terrific.

Another advantage is that the HOA stream is automatically recorded to your YouTube channel, so it can be viewed later or embedded on blogs or websites outside of Google+. In other words, you can broadcast to the entire world, not just those within Google+. You have to link your Google+ account to your YouTube account to do so, but I think this is a no brainer. Users also have to upgrade their Google Voice and video plugins before they can begin streaming.

Although we don't know what the limits are yet, Hangouts on Air just might be the killer app for Google+. It has the potential to become a great promotional tool that can allow artists to connect with their fans in real time in ways that weren't as easy or possible until now. While all apps are great when they're first introduced, lets see how it actually pans out after it's in use for a while. First indications are promising, however.

Here's a video that shows HOA in operation.

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