social media how toWhat if your business could do live video broadcasts to unlimited viewers–instantly and for free?

Want to share your screen and slides, no problem.  Need it to be super easy?

This is all possible with using the free Google+ Hangouts On Air!

You’ve probably already heard about Google+ Hangouts, which allow you to video chat with up to 9 different people at once.

And you may have heard of Google+ Hangouts On Air, which lets you broadcast to an unlimited audience.  But this cool feature was previously only available to a select number of bigger businesses.

Watch this quick video to see it in action…

Well, Google+ recently announced the rollout of Hangouts On Air to everyone worldwide. This is great news for marketers looking for a free and easy solution to reach people via videos.

So let’s talk about everything you need to know about using Google+ Hangouts On Air for your business.

First, a brief introduction…

Google+ Hangouts On Air

Hangouts On Air allow you to publicly broadcast your Hangouts on YouTube and your Google+ stream for anyone to watch.

Yep, it’s like having access to your own live video show on the web—viewable to anyone in the world.

In another recent Google+ update, Google+ added a Hangout icon in the left navigation ribbon to promote all the public Hangouts.

hangout link

Hangout link on left-hand navigation ribbon in Google+.

This Hangout link has given a lot more visibility to public video chats—and it’s now much easier to find and network with others visually on air.

What Businesses Can Do With Google+ Hangouts On Air

Here’s a closer look at what you can do with Hangouts On Air.

Broadcast Your Video on Google+ and YouTube

When broadcasting, your video will stream live on your YouTube account and on your Google+ stream. This means you can share your YouTube URL with anyone who wants to watch your broadcast live.

In the video below, Daria Musk Concert Hangout On Air from The Living Room in NYC:

Live-Stream Your Hangout on Any Website

While in your Hangout, you can grab the YouTube video embed code and paste it into your blog or website to get more viewers and reach.

embed link

Click on the Embed link to get the YouTube code that you can paste into a blog post or website.

Incorporate Google+ Apps

Right now, you can use a number of applications like Google Docs, SlideShare and Cacoo to help you collaborate or present your ideas in video. This gives you the same functionality of hosting your own webinar at no cost.

Here’s a peek at some of the apps you have access to at the moment:

hangout apps

Google+ Hangouts applications.

Cacoo allows you to collaborate on a drawing with others in your Hangout.  This app provides tons of templates to choose from (e.g., flowcharts, Venn diagrams, sitemaps, database designs, etc.).


Example of a Cacoo app in Google+ Hangouts.

SlideShare allows you to view and use the presentations in SlideShare. This is just another reason to store and share your presentations in SlideShare.


Example of the SlideShare app in Google+ Hangouts.

Scoot & Doodle allows everyone in your Hangout to draw together. You can play games, doodle or draw on your face. It’ll be fun to see how this app evolves over time.

scoot and doodle

Example of Scoot & Doodle app in Google+ Hangouts.

Chat on Sidebar

Simply click on the Chat button on the top left to chat with others during your Hangout.

If you’re doing a presentation, invite others to leave questions or comments in the sidebar as you’re talking or presenting a slide.

chat bar

Chat bar in a Google+ Hangout.

Screen Share

To share different parts of your screen, simply click Screen Share to select which window you want to show everyone else.

This is helpful if you want to talk about a website, application, program or anything else on your desktop.

screen share

After clicking Screen Share, you can select which window you’d like to share with everyone.

Edit Your Hangout When Complete

After your Hangout On Air, you can edit the video in your YouTube account (connected to your Google+ account).

Simply go to your Video Manager page and click on the Video Editor link on top of the page.

video editor

Video Editor in YouTube.

Share Your Recorded Hangout

Once you’re happy with your video, you can then share it just like any other YouTube video.

share button

Click on the Share button below your YouTube video to get your link or embed code.

How to Start Your First Hangout On Air

Now let’s talk about how to start your first Hangout On Air…

#1: Log into Google+ and Click on the Hangout Button

Simply log into your Google+ account and click on the Hangout button on the right side of your stream.

hangout button

Hangout button is located to the right of your homepage stream in Google+.

#2: Name Your Hangout and Invite People

Invite a circle of people to join you in your Hangout.  If you invite fewer than 25 people, they will receive an instant message with a link to join.  However, if you invite more than 25 people at a given time, the Hangout invite will just be shown in their stream (which might not get seen).

add names

Add names or circles of people you’d like to invite.

You can also invite people to join you by phone if they’re not available online.


To invite someone to your Hangout by phone, simply type in a phone number to call.

#3: Check “Enable Hangouts On Air”

After naming your Hangout and clicking on the Enable Hangouts On Air box, you’ll get a pop-up informing you that the hangout session will be streamed on your YouTube channel and on your Google+ stream.

enable hangouts on air

The first step in starting a Hangout On Air is to click on the Enable Hangouts On Air box.

Once you click on the blue Okay, Got It! button, you’ll need to agree to Google’s terms of service.

#4: Agree to Google’s Terms

Make sure you read through the terms of service—especially if you’re using this on behalf of your company. You only need to agree to the terms during your first Hangout.  You may want to consider having your company’s legal team review this contract before moving forward.

terms of service

Anyone you invite into a Hangout will need to agree to Google+ terms of service.

Once you click that you agree and click Continue, you’ll start your first Hangout session.  You can then wait for others to join your Hangout or start broadcasting live without them.

Anyone else you invite to join your Hangout will also receive a note to inform them the Hangout will be live-streamed on YouTube.

live streamed on youtube

Anyone else you invite to join your Hangout will also receive a note to inform them the Hangout will be live-streamed on YouTube.

#5: Press Start Broadcast to Video Chat On Air

To start broadcasting your Hangout, click on the red Start Broadcast button.

start broadcast

The Start Broadcast button is located on the top right of your screen.

After pressing the red Start Broadcast button, you’ll get one more message informing you that the broadcast will be public.

#6: Broadcasting Publicly

This is your last message telling you that the video content will be public.  Google really wants to make sure you know what’s happening next.

broadcast public

This is your last announcement that you are about to broadcast your Hangout publicly on YouTube.

After clicking OK, the red button will give you a 10-second countdown before going live. Take a deep breath and smile.

What to Do After Your Hangout

After you’ve finished your Hangout, it could take up to an hour before the video appears in your YouTube account. Don’t worry if you don’t see it right away because it will upload very soon.

When the video is ready, you’ll find it appearing in your YouTube Video Manager page where you can then place it into a playlist, start sharing or edit.

Edit Your Hangout Video

Simply go to your Video Manager page and click on the Video Editor link on top of the page if you want to:

  • Add approved music or sound effects
  • Trim or customize clips
  • Integrate more video from other video clips you’ve uploaded
video editor

Click on the Video Editor link in your top navigation to launch the video editing application.

Share Your Recorded Hangout

Once you’re happy with your video, you can then share it just like any other YouTube video.

  • Share your YouTube URL with anyone
  • Embed the YouTube code on your website
share button

Click on the Share button below your YouTube video to get your link or embed code.

Submit Your Favorite Hangouts On Air to Google+

Google+ is inviting you to share your favorite broadcasts with them.  We’re not sure what Google will do with them, but it might be a fun way to promote your business if they decide to use it in some promotion.

How to Record Longer Hangout Sessions

If you’re familiar with posting video on YouTube, you know that you need permission to post videos longer than 15 minutes.  Since many Hangouts might last longer than 15 minutes, you should verify your account with YouTube so your recorded video doesn’t get cut.

Here’s how to enable longer Hangout recordings:

Once logged into YouTube, go to your Upload page and click on Increase Your Limit.  You’ll need to verify your account by submitting your mobile phone number.

account verification

YouTube account verification to increase your video upload limit.

Google will then text you a code that you need to type in to verify your account.

verify step

YouTube verification step 2.

And then you’ll receive the announcement that you can upload video longer than 15 minutes.

complete announcement

YouTube Verification Complete announcement.

That’s all you need to do to get a verified account, which you should do if you want to avoid getting your Hangouts cut at the 15-minute mark.

Google+ Hangout On Air Tips

Here are a few other tips you should know before starting your first Hangout (especially if you’re using it on behalf of your company):

Remember the YouTube Terms of Service and Copyright

You are responsible for the video content (and what others do within the Hangout).  If someone acts inappropriately or plays copyrighted audio or video in the background, it can count against your personal account. Remember to follow YouTube’s terms of service and their community guidelines during Hangouts On Air.

Consider speaking with an attorney before engaging in Hangouts on behalf of your company.

Block Inappropriate People and Tell Others

If you’re hosting a Hangout On Air, you can block anyone you think is inappropriate.  But just because you’ve blocked them from appearing in your Hangout doesn’t mean that others in the Hangout can’t still see or hear them.

So if you block someone, ask the rest of the group in your Hangout to block them, too.

Unable to Stream Live Hangout From Your Company YouTube Account

There isn’t a way to associate your Google+ page Hangout with your company YouTube page at this time.

All Google+ Hangouts On Air are automatically associated with the page administrator’s YouTube account.

You’ll need to download the video from your personal account and upload it into your company’s account if that’s where it belongs.

Mute Your Audio if You Want to Watch Your Broadcast Live to Avoid Hearing an Echo

While hosting your Hangout, you can go to your Google+ profile to watch the video streaming.  Just make sure to mute the audio so you don’t hear an echo.

Use a Unique Name for Your Hangout

It’s important to choose a unique name for your Hangout because others might unintentionally join simply because they typed your Hangout name when creating their own.  Those people will automatically join your Hangout. So make sure to choose a unique name.

Play in Hangouts by Yourself First

Take some time to get a feel for what it’s like in a Hangout by starting one with just yourself.  Play with apps. Learn the interface. Switch back and forth between video of you and your screen.

Get comfortable with it before launching your first real Hangout for business.

Practical Ways to Use Hangouts On Air for Business

There are countless ways you can use Google+ Hangouts On Air for business. Here are just a few:

Customer Service Live Q&A

Do your customers or clients ask you the same types of questions? Why not host a weekly Hangout On Air to address common questions live?  Promote the live video series and invite people to tweet questions to you during your presentation.

Post the video on your website for those who missed it.

Here is Obama answering questions:

Live Expert Interviews

A great way to build an audience is to conduct thought-leadership interviews. Invite an expert to hang out with you on a particular day, and promote it to your clients, customers and/or target market. You can then embed the YouTube code on your blog or website so that everyone knows where to go to watch it. You could even host a panel discussion with up to 9 different experts to present on an important topic.

Here’s a panel discussion on education:

Khan Academy founder Sal Khan and Stanford professors Peter Norvig and Sebastian Thrun discuss the future of technology in education. They are taking questions live on Google+.


If you’ve ever wanted to start a regularly scheduled vlog for your company, you don’t have any excuses anymore. Now you have everything you need to host your own show. Set a time each week to put on a live video show to talk about your business or topics important to your industry.

Check out Trey Ratcliff’s Google+ photography show:

And check out this great blog post for more ideas on using Hangouts for business.

What do you think? There are so many possibilities for using Google+ Hangouts On Air for business.  I hope you find some of these tips helpful.  Let me know how you think you’ll be using Hangouts On Air, or any other comments or questions you have. Leave your comments in the box below.

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  • Very cool, Michael. I had NO idea about the “Scoot and Doodle” application. Hangouts are such an interesting and powerful new avenue and I am super excited to learn more about how to utilize it. Thanks for always providing such helpful info!

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  • Hi Stephanie, so happy you found the article helpful.  It’s fun to play around with the apps in Hangouts — and I’m really excited to see what’s coming next. So much potential for business and networking.  🙂

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  • Thanks, that’s useful to know. Hangouts are a great alternative to something like Webex. 

  • Anon Amos

    Is there a way to make the Hangout Private and people need to request an invite?

  • Nice post mike, it would be very helpful for a newbie. I forgot about the youtube limit. thanks for pointing that out

  • Heidi

    It looks like fun, and I would love to try it but I just cannot seem to get our readers over on Google +. We post over there but hardly any interaction. Wish Facebook had this feature because that is where our readers are!

  • Hi @twitter-75051887:disqus glad the article is useful for you. Let me know if you have any questions. 🙂

  • I think the hangouts is a great way to draw your audience over. Invite them to join you for a live chat or webinar.

  • Little Mingo

    I could Probalby check this but will ask instead….can this be done via iPad? It’s so cool!

  • Good article Mike!
    How would you set up a pay-per-view event?

  • Hi, Mike. Great post. Few questions:
    1. If a Hangout On Air is not set to be open to the Public (i.e. I only want to invite certain people), does that mean the Public cannot see it (or a post about it) on Google+?
    2. Can I start a Hangout On Air, gather people in it, and then choose when I want to start the broadcast?
    3. What suggestions do you have, if any, on how to “sync up” a Google+ Page with an existing YouTube Channel?
    4. When a viewer is watching a Hangout On Air (live, not the recording), can they toggle video quality settings or will YouTube/Google recognize Internet connection speed and adjust accordingly?

  • Yes, but you need to be invited into a hangout on an ipad.  At least for now.

  • @facebook-100002153648924:disqus Love your thinking! Don’t know of any way of doing that. 

  • Jon, some great questions here. Not sure I have all the right answers, but here are my initial thoughts: 
    1. If it is on air, then anyone can potentially watch it live since it will be visible in your stream, YouTube, and the “explore” area of Google+.  If you want to keep it private, don’t broadcast your hangout.

    2. Yes, start your hangout and invite your friends to join in. You can start broadcasting when you feel like it. 

    3. Yeah, that’s the biggest flaw with Hangouts on Air. Right now, I suggest creating your hangout video on your personal YouTube account. Then download it — and then upload it into your company YouTube account.  That’s the only way at this point. I’d love to hear any other ideas on this. 

    4. Not sure about adjusting video quality settings in live hangouts. Great question.  

  • Mike, 

    No way dude. This is pretty awesome! I think this could be a cool thing for many people, especially video bloggers (which I totally am!) Super informative, as all of these posts always are. Gives me a lot of ideas. 

  • Terrific article. The Hangouts on Air is a brand new feature Google are rolling out, not sure everyone has it yet. I am sure secretly they don’t want to have too many people using it too soon.

    It’s a great way to allow more than 10 people to watch the hangout.

    Definitely use the Apps like Yes No Maybe to run Polls, Sample Video Selector so you can lock the screen if you are running a presentation, rather than it rotating to whoever is talking.

    Use circles to restrict who has access to the Hangout and decide in advance if the Hangout you are on is one you want to post to YouTube or not, you can always make a video Unlisted (only those with the link can view) or Private (login required to view).

  • Thanks Mike! I still have been hesitant to get back into Google+ actively but I can see they are really doing a lot to make the site better. This hangouts on air feature does sound really cool and I might be able to use it to do more than just enhance my SEO with Google+.

  •  Yeah, I’m really excited about Google+ On Air.  I have a few ideas for some upcoming public hangouts. 

  • Thanks, Ryan.  Glad to hear you’re excited about using hangouts for your blog. Time for me to start brainstorming, too. 

  •  I didn’t even think about apps for taking polls in webinars — but that is a great idea to get everyone to interact.  And making the video unlisted would be a great way to hide it from public view — and still get it recorded. I didn’t even think of that.

  • Wes

    Anon, that’s what I was thinking.  Suggest embedding the code inside a locked members area?  Other suggestions would be great, cheers

  • Wes

    This is a great innovation by google.  Given that the top webinar providers are increasing their prices, this is a great way for innovative, nimble companies and content marketers to produce engaging content and extending reach.  Love to know how to keep them private, suggest to circle members only.  

  • Excellent post Mike! you described every point in detail and I like the Google+ hangout and certainly g+ have been updating day by day and meeting every aspect and businesses can use the G+ to grow them on social media.

    Thanks for sharing very informative post!

  • Thanks @ayaz88:disqus So happy you found it helpful. 🙂

  • AllanMarston

    It is so awesome how you have given step by step instructions.  Thank you for doing this.

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  • Rod Schneider

    What is the best way to invite your Facebook friends into a hang-out?
    Can people join a hangout without logging in or does everyone need to log in with a Google account?

  • Rod Schneider

    I’m not clear on what this means: “you need to be invited into a hangout on an ipad” 
    Do you mean the hangout needs to be initiated from an iPad?Or can anyone join a hangout from an iPad?

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  • Awesome article.  I’m going to give this a try.  I really appreciate the detailed steps, the screenshots and the tips for getting started the right way with Google+ Hangouts on Air.  Awesome!

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  • Excellent guide, Mike. Thanks for such a thorough walk-through!

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  • Johnny Pineda

    Is there anyway to know the embed code in advance of starting the hangout so a web page can be created with it already made and then promoted to show up at?

    Is there a way to schedule it in advance so it automatically starts and whoever is on is on?

  • Hi Johny, 

    I have a similar question. e.g. If I am say planning a google+ hangout on air broadcast say tomorrow morning 10 AM, how do I tell the participants about it now ?

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  • Fernando Martinelli


    I would like to record my hangouts without broadcasting them. Is that possible? I want the recordings to be only visible by me.


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  • Fairly certain that you can’t do iPad to computer yet, but maybe Google it. 😛

  • Awesome article @facebook-100000169415528:disqus .  Do you know if there is a way to not show the thumbnails under the main video in the YouTube stream?

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  • Mamie

    This is very useful, as I want to start doing a live broadcast for rural tour of about 10 days

  • Karen Rose Trifiletti

    Thanks, Michael. Great piece. Going to test out a few ways of utilizing Hangouts on Air but would like to know all the options for receiving questions for a live Q/A on given topic. I see the sample clip wherein questions are submitted by video (are those all public or private to the presenter? Are they are submitted in advance?… Also, you mention having some tweet those questions live (Can you talk more about that; does that mean having your twitter feed live while you have the Hangout going? Again, all of those questions are public then as well…) You also mention receiving questions via the live group chat. If I have a Hangout for several hundred people who want to ask questions, I’d like to be able to see a feed of questions personally, with a moderator, and choose those that are sincere, either in advance or during the live stream, avoiding trolls and having to block and having others block those. I’ve seen webinars where the presenter gets the queue of questions themselves, privately, and then responds to those that are relevant and most useful for the audience. What are my options for receiving questions that I can answer without having to have questions of trolls, etc. blocked by everyone?

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  • guptaabhijit318

    Great post, this is a great innovation by google. , I tried out google hangout for the first time the other day and I had never thought of using it to build a brand. Thanks for the ideas!

  • Microsoft is the most famous company of technology which has changed the learning style.Now this organization has signed many new education projects with the various states for the betterment in education sector.