Google Hangouts on-air is now YouTube Live Streaming. If you are interested in setting up a publicly visible livestream you will need to visit YouTube, not Google+ as you may have done in the past.
Google Hangouts has a maximum participant limit of 15 (Gmail accounts) or 25 (G Suite for Education / Business accounts). If you need more viewers than either of these limits you will need to use YouTube Live streaming.
I lead monthly webinars to discuss various topics related to educational technology. These monthly hangouts are run through YouTube live. It easy to set up, free, and very easy for viewers to access.
Scheduling a Live stream is quite simple.
1. Visit you YouTube.com/live_dashboardThis will take you directly to the live stream portion of your YouTube account. To schedule a live event, click "events" and click "new live event".
2. Set up your EventFill out the basic information on the event page. You can come back and adjust this information later if needed. The date and start / end times are the most important part.
3. Advanced SettingsMost of the default settings on this page should be fine, but there are a few settings you may want to adjust:
- Live chat - do you want your viewers to be able to chat during the stream? This feature is on by default.
- Promotions - by default, Google will post your live stream on your YouTube channel when it goes live. If you don't want the general public to know about this feed, uncheck these boxes.
That's it! When you are done, click the "create event" button.
Starting your Live Feed:To begin your live feed visit YouTube.com/live_dashboard, find your event and click "Start Hangout on Air." This will launch your Google hangout.
Once your hangout has launched you can invite others to join as contributors. You are still in the setup phase. Your feed is NOT being broadcasted.
To officially start your broadcast you must click the green "start broadcast" button at the bottom of your hangout.
Watching a live BroadcastThere are a couple different ways to help your viewers access your live feed.
1. Embed the feedYour video feed is a regular YouTube video which means that it can be easily embedded into your blog, website, or even in your learning management system. Viewers just need to click the play button. The video behaves a little like a DVR; viewers will have the ability to watch from the beginning, pause, and rewind the feed as they wish.
The downside to embedding the feed into your website is that viewers won't be able to access the live chat.
2. View on YouTubeYour live stream will also be visible on YouTube. Here, viewers can watch the feed AND participate in the live chat. Simply share the video link with your viewers to give them access to the view page. Note that your video doesn't need to be publically posted on YouTube in order for it to have a "watch now" page. This requires that you send the link directly to your viewers as there is no other way for them to find it.
My Live Stream Page
For my webinars I setup a simple, single page Google Site on which I embed the video stream and provide instructions on how to access the chat. You can view my setup here.
Post RecordingAfter your live stream has ended, Google will automatically post a recording of the stream to your YouTube channel. Depending on your settings, this will either be a public or hidden video. The live chat is not saved.
Hangouts On Air is now YouTube live. While the core functions haven't changed, the process of setting up and managing your live stream events is much improved.