When Google+ introduced Hangouts, it was a major win for Google's social networking service. It was the major defining feature for a lot of people and set Google+ apart from the competition. Google then introduced Hangouts On Air to a limited number of users that introduced the power of live broadcasting of Hangouts to hundreds of people.
After being only available to those select people for about a year, Hangouts On Air is now available to all Google+ users worldwide. Now you can broadcast video live to your friends and your followers around the world. Just think of the possibilities: host an improv comedy collab show that invites fans to participate over the Web, broadcast a live concert to your fans, or host a live gaming session to show off the new features coming to a tabletop game.
While the launch of Hangouts On Air to everyone is already a big win for Google, the company is launching it with some extra features that make it even better.
Broadcast publicly. By checking "Enable Hangouts On Air," you can broadcast your live hangout—from the Google+ stream, your YouTube channel or your website—to the entire world.
See how many viewers you’ve got. During your broadcast, you can look inside the hangout to see how many people are watching live.
Record and re-share. Once you're off the air, we’ll upload a public recording to your YouTube channel, and to your original Google+ post. This way it's easy to share and discuss your broadcast after it's over.
As Google points out, launching Hangouts On Air to every Google+ user is going to take some time. So the company will be rolling it out gradually over the next few weeks to make sure everything is in tip top shape. Some big names are already taking advantage of Hangouts On Air over the next week including CBS This Morning, Conan O'Brien and The Nerdist.
If you're one of the lucky folks who has access now, start sharing your original content with the world. Google Hangouts On Air is collaborative livestreaming at its finest. Hit up the Hangouts page on Google+ to see what people are broadcasting now. There's bound to be something interesting going on.
For help in setting up a Hangouts On Air, Google created a short video that shows you how to set one up. It's an easy, yet powerful way to stay connected with your fans and followers. It will be really interesting to see how brands use it in the coming months.