If you’re familiar with Google+, you’ve probably heard of its Hangouts feature. For those who aren’t, I’ll fill you in. Hangouts is a sort of video conference call within Google+ for up to ten participants. Not too long after the Hangouts rolled out, podcasters started to use it to get up close and personal with their viewers. The one major drawback is that there has been no way around the hard cap of 10 viewers without also streaming to a different service like Justin.tv or uStream. Today that cap has been lifted.
As you read this, Google is rolling out a new update to the public called Hangouts on Air to everyone using Google+. Hangouts on Air gives you the ability stream your hangout podcast to as many non-participant users as you want in addition to the ten on the hangout itself. You can even embed your stream to the website of your choosing and it will automatically upload the video to your YouTube channel. The one catch is that your Google+ and YouTube accounts must be linked.
If you’re saying this has actually been around for a couple of months, you’d technically be correct. Hangouts on Air has been available in a limited beta to the likes of Conan O’Brien, Felicia Day, and photographer extraordinaire (and good friend of Livid Lobster) Trey Ratcliff for the last couple months. Today, it’s available to you. Go out and take a test drive. Who knows, the next big podcaster could be you!