Google is discontinuing Hangouts On Air. That news came out recently, this after Google launched the service in 2012. And while it had a slightly slow start for the mainstream, in the last year has gotten extremely popular with folks to use it as a marketing tool.
It’s an alternative, say, to using Citrix’s GoToWebinar if you’re trying to do a wider range of more informal webinar style approaches, or if you’re trying to stream this video straight to YouTube, or straight to your website as it happens as well as using the recording. So there’s some functionality there that was really compelling for the everyday user and it certainly didn’t hurt that Google didn’t charge for this service compared to what some other solutions can cost for those who are doing guerilla marketing or marketing on a shoestring.
Now, the news is not all bad but we are gonna have to go back to YouTube and learn a bit more about how YouTube works under the hood. Many of us are used to uploading videos that we have created to YouTube to share them. However, YouTube has YouTube Live which you can use in Hangouts on Air like operations after September. And there is a help document on the YouTube site that we’ll put in the show notes that you can go to and learn about how to schedule once we get into September, how to schedule those events. However, it is gonna be a little bit different because some of you may have been using the Q&A feature, or Showcase, or Applause features and Hangouts on Air.
We are familiar with Showcase and Q&A and had been using those, so it has been a little bit of a conversion for us as well to move to the YouTube Live. However, the ultimate output of YouTube recording and the ability to share and embed that on your site does not change, so it’s not complete disruption to your infrastructure. However, it will be a little bit of a change for you. A couple of key things to think about: YouTube Live offers Live On Demand Streaming as well as Scheduled Streaming. So Scheduled Streaming is a little bit more like Google Hangouts on Air. Live On Demand streaming requires some software, that software that you can buy, for example, from a company called Wirecast if you’re gonna do that on a PC or a MAC.
There’s open-source software called Open Broadcaster Software that allows you to actually get some tools on your computers that allow you do to live, on demand streams. So that is an interesting new potential channel for you to explore as you migrate from Hangouts On Air over to YouTube Live.
The core offering which is your ability to produce and share a live video that can be watched by an audience as well as can be watched post-event as a recording will still sustain and remain for you.
The biggest difference is probably gonna be the Q&A, as you’re gonna have to use some other social channels perhaps to bring your questions to the fore. For example, versus Q&A you could have folks tweeting to a particular hashtag for your event so that you can field questions socially as well as before and after the event to allow you to answer those questions. The biggest thing to really prepare for with anything in a change like this is just to make sure you rehearse. Just like you did for Hangouts On Air to get comfortable with the interface and the sidebar, getting the cameras and the audio right, you’re gonna wanna schedule a few test runs in YouTube with yourselves or with some friendly peers, or even a friendly customer who could give you feedback on sound and quality. So that you really feel like you have yourselves mapped out for using the new service, especially if you have a regular, like we do, monthly production that was on Google Hangouts on Air that we’re using YouTube Live.