Google Hangouts On Air: A First Time for Everything

Thanks to Google Hangouts, anybody with a computer can host a chat show in the comfort of their own living room and broadcast their show on YouTube.

I am no exception.

Last week, to fulfill one of my Internet resolutions of videocizing my work, I created a video for this blog. It was an interview with the social media maven, Bonnie Sainsbury, on whose YouTube show, Women Talking Tech I have appeared many times.

I wanted to create a similar video, using Hangouts On Air, to broadcast on my Winetalker YouTube channel. In my haste, I forgot to put up my lower third and managed to cut off my intro, but oh well. Next time I’ll kill it.

Learning Hangouts

Since Google Hangouts launched a more unified system last year, much has been written and broadcast about what Hangouts is and how to use it.

This WikiHow article shows in succinct, but graphic detail all the ways to make use of this tool

Google’s own site has an extensive number of pages devoted to Hangouts

Ronny Bincer calls himself the Hangout Helper and has created numerous videos about using Hangouts. This guy tells you everything you need to know about becoming a Hangout star.

Far be it for me to try reinventing the How-to-Hangout wheel, but I’ve got my own tips on how to use Google Hangouts On Air that just might save you some time.

Use a Newer Computer

The first thing I learned about Google Hangouts is that I could not upload its plugin on my old Macbook Pro with its wimpy 10.6 operating system. Google won’t tell you this in so many words, but they should.

I had to buy a MacBook Pro with Mountain Lion to be able to upload the Hangouts plugin. Unfortunately, I’m a Machead, so I can’t advise PC users on how to accomplish this.

Upshot: Use a computer with OS 10.8 or better.

Use your Gmail account

Like most of us, I have many email addresses that pre-date gmail.

I also have a YouTube account that predates Hangouts and Google’s acquisition of YouTube, that uses an old, non-gmail email address.

What I found is that I can use a non-gmail Google + account to start a Hangout, but I can’t broadcast it On Air.

So, in order to broadcast my Hangout with Bonnie, I had to log in using a gmail address, and then  I opened a new Google + account, into which imported my circles.

Upshot: Your Google + account must be connected to a gmail account if you want to broadcast your Hangout.

Have a Clean, Gmail-Connected YouTube Account

Along the way, I read that the YouTube account your Hangout is broadcast on must be in “good standing,” that is, free of any strikes by YouTube. This warning gave me pause as my Winetalker channel once had a copyright strike from Germany, where they refuse to believe that a band like The Bad Plus actually gave me permission to use one of their songs.

No problem, really. When I went to broadcast my Hangout with Bonnie, Google was kind enough to start a whole new YouTube channel for me, eponomously named, Mari Kane. This name can’t be changed as it is linked to my marickane at gmail.com account.

Oh, the interconnectivity!

Upshot: Go Google all the way. Use a Google+ and YouTube account connected to your Gmail address and to top it off, use the Google Chrome browser. Why not?

More than Video

Google Hangouts allows you to more than just chat with up to 10 people.

Separate functions allow you to also chat among yourselves between your rants, to screenshare images and documents on your hard drive, capture still images of whatever transpires on screen, and add visual or audio effects like cartoon mustaches, drum rolls, and exotic backgrounds.

hangout effects, blogsitestudio.com

Or, in my case, grab a still of myself on a beach background.

Oh, the fun to be had on Google Hangouts!

How much fun are you having with Hangouts? Got questions? Ask the Hangout Helper, not me.