Google+ Hangouts allow for groups of friends or colleagues have an intimate face-to-face conversation, but the “On Air” feature of the service allows you to broadcast to the masses. The President Of The United States Of America has taken part in these conversations, but anyone can set up their own. Today, the Hangouts team has introduced some new functionality that make participating in a live On Air a little bit easier.
Up until now you haven’t been able to do anything other than watch the live broadcast as it happens, which is nice until you have to run to the kitchen to grab a drink or pause to take a phone call. Today, viewers can now rewind your broadcast no matter where they are during the live filming process.
Additionally, On Air videos will immediately be published instead of carrying the normal waiting period where you’ll get the infamous “processing…” dialogue.
The only negatives that I see to this is that it slows down the ramp up time it takes to start your broadcast, so you should buffer some time in to get started before your actual scheduled “live” time:
Other tweaks in this push include higher quality versions of a Hangout On Air via your mobile device, which is nice since these can be kind of grainy, depending on your connection at the time. Additionally, live broadcasts will now start without having to refresh a page, which was a real pain in the ass. Now if you visit a page that has the embedded On Air player, it will just automagically start playing.
The Hangouts product has made its way into many of Google’s services, including its mobile offerings on Android and even Glass. The usecase for Hangouts widely vary, but Google has been dogfooding it way before its release. The “On Air” option has the attention of both local and national broadcasters, giving them away to connect to audiences in a way more intimate way.