Ready, set, broadcast with Google+'s Hangouts on Air

You've long been able to have Google+ video-conferences, but now, thanks to Google's general release of Google+ Hangouts on Air soon anyone can also do live or recorded broadcasting. So, if you always wanted your own TV show, well, now you can have it.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Ready, set, broadcast with Google+ Hangouts on Air.

Ready, set, broadcast with Google+ Hangouts on Air.

With Google+ Hangouts, you've long been able to do free videoconferencing for up to ten people. Now, with Google+ Hangouts on Air, anyone can also broadcast to a world-wide audience.

According to Chee Chew, a Google Engineering Director, "If you have something to say-as an aspiring artist, a global celebrity, or a concerned citizen-you can now go live in front of a global audience. With just a few clicks, you'll be able to:

  • Broadcast publicly: By checking "Enable Hangouts On Air," you can broadcast your live hangout-from the Google+ stream, your YouTube channel or your website-to the entire world.
  • See how many viewers you've got: During your broadcast, you can look inside the hangout to see how many people are watching live.
  • Record and re-share: Once you're off the air, we'll upload a public recording to your YouTube channel, and to your original Google+ post. This way it's easy to share and discuss your broadcast after it's over."

People are already using this to broadcast news, town hall meetings, classes, and concerts. In short, with Google Hangouts on Air, people are already reaching a global audience from their living room.

To become your own Internet TV star, you need, of course, a Google+ account. If you want to keep recordings of your broadcasts that are longer than 15-minutes you'll also need a YouTube account. You also have to agree to Google+'s and YouTube's terms of service. You must, of course, own all the applicable copyrights for any materials you choose to show-so you can forget about streaming your favorite movies to friends and family.

Technically speaking, you should have at least a 1Mbps upload speeds and a decent Webcam. You can, of course, ramp up from there to building your own home studio. Google takes care of finding the needed bandwidth to deliver your content to your audience.

Once your broadcast is done, it's automatically stored on YouTube under your channel for future watchers.

There are other groups, such as Spreecast and UStream, that offer similar services. None of them, however, have anything close to Google's size and klout.

Hangouts on Air is now available in many countries, but it's not available to all users. Like other Google projects, its being slowly rolled out as Google expands its infrastructure to meet the demand.

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