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Summary:

Google is working on turning its Hangouts video chat platform into a collaborative live streaming product that will give everyone the ability to stream their Hangout sessions to an unlimited number of viewers. Check out our interview with Google Engineering Director Chee Chew for details.

chee chew

Google will soon give everyone the ability to live stream their Google+ Hangouts to an unlimited audience, Google Engineering Director Chee Chew told me at the Social TV Summit in San Francisco Tuesday. Hangout video chats are currently limited to 10 participants. Only a few select users have been pre-approved to stream their Hangouts to a bigger group of viewers, something Google has been calling Hangouts On Air. “Our vision is for everyone on the planet to have access to On Air,” Chew said.

Chew told me that this type of interactive live streaming could be used by Occupy Wall Street protesters, couples who want to live stream their wedding to remote friends and college professors conducting public office hours. Check out my entire interview with Chew below:

Hangouts was launched as part of Google+ last year and has since become a bit of a surprise hit. Chew’s comments seem to suggest that the platform could become key in Google’s and YouTube’s bigger plans to compete with live streaming platforms like Ustream and Livestream.

Google recently launched apps for Hangouts, allowing third-party developers to extend video chats with games, slideshows and flowcharts. Chew said that developers have been implementing things the Google team would have never thought of.

The same thing is true for Hangouts users and the way they have been adopting the platform: “We tuned the codec for voice,” Chew told me. “And then people started doing music over it, and playing concerts… people are really pushing the envelope.”

  1. Thanks Janko for an insightful interview with Chee Chew. The Hangout On Air (HOA) tool is a very powerful tool and I look forward to Google making HOA available to everyone. For myself, I’ve used HOA for interviewing people from around the world. And I’m also planning to put some Chinese content up. Exciting stuff.
    P.S. I understand the first rule of interview is grab the interview subjects wherever and whenever you can. So great job in tracking down and interviewing Chee. If you don’t mind me saying, the video will be easy to watch & listen if it was conducted in a less noisy or echoey location.

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    1. Thanks for the feedback; totally realize that the sound quality could have been better. Unfortunately, finding a quiet lace at a conference can be challenging…

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  2. Wish I could watch it but am getting a message saying Content unavailable, cannot contact authorization server…

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  3. Great interview and insights! amazing level of detail. Hangouts is a game changer, thanks for this rare glimpse into Hangouts future plans.

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  4. Do you happen to have any date or month when Hangouts on Air would be available to everyone? Or is there a way to submit the website I write for to be considered for this pre-release that is going on right now?

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    1. They should consider sites like http://livescifi.tv,if you havent checked them out yet you should

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  5. Heinzgitz Ernst Gitzheinz Sunday, April 22, 2012

    Was ist jetzt mit “hangout on air” läuft immer noch nicht in der Schweiz.

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