Sunday, 3 March 2013

Google Hangout on Air - easy live webcasting option

I put out a call on Twitter a week or two ago, asking for some feedback on some paid-for webcasting tools. Webcasting is something that can really enhance a live-person event, and I've seen it used to great effect at conferences over the past few years. Not only does it enable the reach of the event to be massively amplified, it also enables the conversation around the conference to be much richer, as you can engage with a much broader online community, not just the participants in the room.

I had been aware of some free Webcasting tools, but hadn't come across the one that a colleague recommended: Google Hangout on Air. I managed to coax a few people at the office to try this out this week and I have to say I was really impressed.

The requirements to use Hangout are very straightforward: a) creating a Google+ page and b) having a wifi connection. It would work well for a number of functions including:

-          Holding virtual meetings with multiple participants (privately)
-          Running webinars
-          Livestreaming an event

Hangout works for private groups of up to 9 people. You all need to be on Google+ to be able to participate.

The Hangout ‘on Air’ works as a live broadcast from a Google+ page. The person or people delivering the broadcast need to have an account, but viewers do not need to have a Google+ account or to install anything: the video appears publicly. Additionally, it automatically uploads the video to your YouTube account so is a very straightforward way of capturing live events to video.

I immediately deleted the test: it was hilariously bad. But I'll definitely be recommending this to colleagues for Webcasting solutions, and will be trying it out over the coming months. 

There is great information on how to run a Hangout on Air here.