Why You Need to Know This Now
Google’s vision is that “everyone on the planet” will have the ability to broadcast live via the soon-to-be-released Google+ Hangouts On Air.
You can Hang Out with 9 People Right Now
Currently, Google+ Hangouts lets up to 10 people chat and interact with each other online. All you need is a free Google+ account, the Google Voice and Video plugin on your computer, and a webcam. It’s similar to other live video chat platforms like Skype and iChat. People have been using Hangouts to chat with family and friends, hold meetings, conduct discussions and classes, to collaborate and consult, to promote books, share events, and more.
Soon You’ll Be Able to Broadcast Live to Millions
The game changer on the horizon is that Hangouts On Air will significantly lower the barriers to live broadcasting to a mass audience. Hangouts On Air will enable your organization to live-stream to audiences of any size from any location where you can get an internet connection. It will be like having your own TV station with the ability to broadcast live 24/7.
Hangouts On Air allows for one host, 9 additional participants (you can think of them as guests on a show) and an unlimited number of viewers who can watch the live stream. And Hangouts On Air are recorded and automatically uploaded to your YouTube account as a private video. Then you can edit if you want (via YouTube’s Video Editor) or just make it public.
In other words, Hangouts On Air will be a way to communicate directly and immediately with volunteers, supporters, donors and other key stakeholders and influentials, as well as an instant story bank for your organization,
Keep in mind that Hangouts On Air will be integrated with the Google+ social network, Google Apps for Business, and the whole Google / YouTube ecosystem, allowing you to leverage other tools you may already be using.
Next Steps: What You Can Do Today
For the moment, our takeaways are these:
- If you haven’t already, begin building your presence and cultivating your audience on Google+. Connecting with volunteers, supporters, and other stakeholders and influentials on Google+ now will mean that you have an audience in place when Hangouts On Air becomes available to the public.
- Start to experiment with Google+ Hangouts, which are available to you right now (9 participants and one host.)
- Begin to think about how you can use this live broadcast platform to interact with volunteers and supporters, mobilize your constituents, educate and train, deliver programs, and otherwise fulfill your mission. Because these tools are essentially free to adopt, the possibilities are limited only by your organization’s creativity.
Here are some examples:
For more information and resources:
- The Google+ Information Center
- Google + The Complete Guide from Mashable
- 9 Creative Uses for Google+ Hangouts
- Google+ Pros and Cons for Small Business (good info for NPOs, too)
- Find upcoming public Hangouts