Video Essentials

Google+ Hangouts on Air: 5 Reasons to Use it from the NY Times

There’s more buzz around Google+ Hangouts on Air than the whole rest of the Google+ social networking platform combined. If you haven’t discovered what this simple and free video marketing tool can do for your business, then take a few tips from the New York Times. Here are five excellent reasons that your company should use it immediately.

You can live stream to three places: After just a few moments of setup, Hangouts on Air lets you stream the same live video feed to your Google+ page, YouTube page, and any webpage you’d like, says Alexis Mainland, the social media editor for the New York Times. You can engage with customers anywhere they are, and all without special coding.

Create an instant social event: You’re not just streaming a live feed with Hangouts on Air, you’re creating a live social experience. Customers, fans, and followers show up in smaller video windows below the main video. You can interact with them, answering their questions or making their video the main video for everyone to see.

No special equipment is needed: A standard web cam connected to a standard computer is all you need to get started. “We were able to convene a group of readers into a columnist and Susan Rice, the ambassador to the U.N., in all sorts of different locations, bringing them together in one video piece without having to send video camera crews to all these different locations,” says Mainland, describing a recent New York Times event. She calls Hangouts on Air a “lightweight production tool.”

It offers analytics: During the live hangout, the person in charge can see how many viewers the live stream has. Afterwards, the archived video is posted to your YouTube channel, offering more data on total viewers.

It’s cutting edge: Don’t be afraid to get out in front of the pack and lead. Companies often take a wait-and-see approach with new technology, but to stay fresh in social media you’ll need to take a chance with new platforms. If the New York Times isn’t afraid to try a live hangout, you shouldn’t be either. “It’s creative and new, which is something we’re always looking for with social media,” says Mainland. ”

For more on how the New York Times is using Google+ Hangouts on Air, watch the full interview below (used courtesy of Beet.TV). To see how simple it is to set up a hangout, watch the second video, which was created by Google.


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  1. I love the concept but not real active yet on Google+ — do I need to draw from friends through this medium only or may I use their e-mail addresses to link them into a recorded broadcast session?

    AND, is there any way to do a test run to see how it looks/sounds without having to have it be posted anywhere?

    LASTLY, is it possible for the broadcast to just feature a party of ONE? I’m wanting to deliver natural wellness messages and like the idea of bringing in “field experts” but also like the idea of running solo as well – possible?

    Thanks muchly – I look forward to your responses.


    Christine in Denver

    Posted by Christine | May 30, 2012, 3:18 pm
    • Active participants need to have Google+ accounts, but anybody may view a live stream, on both your associated YouTube page and a designated other Web page — no accounts needed. Until you hit “Broadcast” on a Hangout On Air, everything works exactly as it would when you actually started streaming to the public, so this is perfect for testing. If you don’t explicitly invite other users into a Hangout on Air, you indeed will be a “party of one” broadcaster as desired.

      Posted by Lauren Weinstein | June 2, 2012, 8:25 pm
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