Some quick notes on Google+ Hangouts On Air

  1. Hangouts On Air are broadcasted live to Google+ and YouTube so anyone can watch even if they don’t have a G+ account
  2. Participants who can join the hangout for On Air are limited to people in your circles. So if you are planning on having guests you need to make sure they are in your circles before you start.
  3. Google+ users can comment on an On Air broadcast whist watching the feed in the Google+ site.
  4. If you are demoing Google products with multiple accounts best to log in on separate browser (first time around I got chucked out of my own hangout when switching accounts).
  5. Resolution of recording is only 480p which probably not high enough if you want people to see text in browser. I’ve experimented with ManyCams (CamTwist is a Mac equivalent) which allows you to stream your desktop as if it was a webcam. ManyCams also allows you to do picture-in-picture so you can have your desktop and talking head. Resolution still isn’t great so you might want to use partial desktop. Here’s an example of switching from a ManyCams source to Hangout shared desktop:

Here’s an extended example of a Hangout I did recently (my first) demoing a new tool I’ working on.

Final thoughts

Hangouts On Air look like a good way to quickly setup a streamed event. If you are doing desktop sharing some juggling is required if you are using standard desktop applications. If you are planning on interacting with the audience some protocols need to be established and separate channels used (you you use the Google+ comment stream, Twitter, something else). Because a Google+ account isn’t required to view when viewing the YouTube feed it opens it up to a wide community. I think I’ll be hanging out more.

Are there any other tips you’ve got?

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