Google (s GOOG) 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.”