Google’s ‘Hangouts on Air’ feature has been in the testing phase with a selection of broadcasters since last year but now, the Mountain View-based tech giant has begun the roll out of the service to all of its users. The feature is an extension of the Google+ Hangouts video chat service and it allows users to create a live stream of their Hangout on YouTube, Google+ itself or any other website on which it can be embedded on.
As opposed to the normal Hangout feature which limits the people to 10 and only they can view it, Hangouts on Air live streams will effectively allow any number of viewers who are not even part of it to view it. Broadcasters will be able to see the number of people currently viewing and that number will be left as a permanent etch on their broadcasts on YouTube just like how videos gets views on the website. With this move, Google is in direct competition with other live streaming services such as Ustream.tv and Justin.tv.
According to Google Engineering Director Chee Chew, the company will roll out the service to users over the span off the next few weeks so you might not have received it just yet. To check whether or not you have it, log into Google+, click the ‘Start a Hangout’ button in the upper right corner of the screen and if you see the option ‘Enable Hangouts on Air’ you have it. For the first usage, there will apparently be some verification processes to endure but it shouldn’t take too long to get out of the way. If you are yet to receive the feature and you want to know more about it, you can attend a few other Hangouts on Air which are available for viewing at Google’s Hangouts home page.