Google + Hangouts & Livestreaming

Google+ Hangouts – Live Video

Google + is one of the newest social networks with a ton of features, but we are going to focus on how your business can live stream by using a feature called Google + Hangouts.

Google + Hangouts is a feature that allows a user to have a video conference with up to 10 people.  One of the ways your business could use this tool is to have virtual meetings and share documents or share screens.

Now that you know what a Google + Hangout is and some of the things you can do with it, let’s figure out how to use it!

Getting Started with Google+

To use Google + you must have a Google + account.  Sign into Google +

Google Voice & Video

You must also have the Google voice and video plugin which you can download here if you don’t have it already: http://www.google.com/tools/dlpage/res/talkvideo/hangouts/

Starting Google+ Hangout

Once you have the plugin and you’re signed in you will be on the Google + homepage where you can start your live stream.  Click “Start a Hangout” to begin.

Editing your Hangout Settings

After clicking “Start a Hangout”, the window below displays.  This is where you invite who you want to be a part of your hangout, name your hangout, and edit the settings of your webcam and mic settings if necessary.  You can see your webcam in the bottom of the window.  If the image looks distorted or if nothing is showing you can click the gears button to edit the settings of your webcam and your mic.

After clicking the gears button, you will be brought to this page where you can change the configuration of your webcam, mic, and sound.

When everything is set up you would click the hangout button to begin.

The Hangout Begins

The following will be displayed on the screen until the people you invited accept the invitation to join you.

 

Once everyone joins, their webcams will display and the “hangout” or meeting can begin.

Hangout Tabs

There are several things you can do during your hangout session.  In the menu bar below the Google+ header. Notice the tabs for: Chat – Invite – Screenshare – Google Docs and YouTube.

Click on the Chat tab to chat (see left sidebar):

Click on the Screenshare tab to share your screen:

Click on the Google Docs tab to share and edit documents:

You know the routine by now, the YouTube tab let’s you view YouTube videos together:

That is how you set up a simple live stream with people you have invited.

But what if you want more than 10 people to be involved?

 

Google+ Hangouts Live: Hangouts on Air

Google + Hangouts added a feature called “Hangouts on Air”.  When you first setup your hangout, you would simply check the “Enable Hangouts on Air” checkbox on the left side of the screen. We highlighted it in a red square.

Checking the Visibility of Your YouTube Channel

You will also need to make sure that your YouTube channel is not marked as invisible.  If your channel is marked as invisible you’ll see the message prompt we got in the yellow box above to change your YouTube channel settings.  If you don’t know how to do so Google provides you with step by step instructions.

Verifying Your YouTube Channel

Your account must be verified with YouTube before using Hangouts On Air.  Once you verify your account you will not have to do it again.  The verification process is basically supplying YouTube with your cell phone number so that they can text you a verification code that you will input to verify it’s your account and prevent abuse.  You will simply click the Start Verification Process button to begin. See the screenshots below.

More Settings for the Hangout On Air

Once you have made the necessary changes you can continue and begin your hangout by clicking the Hang out button.  You will be prompted with Google + Hangouts On Air – additional terms to agree with before you can continue.  You must click the checkbox to agree before pressing the Continue button. You can learn more about it here http://www.google.com/+/policy/hangoutsonair.html and you need to link your YouTube account.

After you press the Continue button you will be prompted with a message about broadcasting publicly.

Embedding the Live Player for Live Public Viewing

If you click on the Embed link, you will get the code to place the live player on your site or wherever an embed code for a live player is allowed to be posted so that people can see you live once you click the Start Broadcast button.  Be sure to place the embed code on your site or wherever you want before clicking the Start Broadcast button otherwise only the people that were invited to your hangout will see your broadcast until it is posted to YouTube where anyone can view it.

Going On Air!

You will click on “Start Broadcast” to go on air once your hangout is up and running.  It will start recording once “Start Broadcast” is clicked.

To stop broadcasting you simply click the End broadcast button.

Hangouts on Air Expand Your Audience

Hangouts On Air allows a user to live stream to a bigger audience.  Google states that you can now stream or broadcast the hangout publicly not only to a Google + profile, but to YouTube as stated above or even your own website!  You can share your live stream like any other video you might share on the web by using the embed code.

What if you want to share your live stream that you’re broadcasting so many people can see it on YouTube?  No worries!  The live stream automatically saves to your YouTube account if you have one.  Google has made it quite easy to use “Hangouts on Air” don’t you think?

Hopefully, this will get you started on having your first Google + livestream with people in your circle or “On Air” to an even bigger audience!

Kia Tinsley is a software consultant with a degree in Information Systems and Operations Management from UNC Greensboro, working as a Social Media Manager Intern with Martin Brossman & Associates.

Martin Brossman & Associates is a Raleigh based firm providing social media training, workshops, management, talks and advising to micro businesses, small and medium sized businesses, professionals, associations and communities. Contact info@martinbrossmanandassociates.com.

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