Google (s GOOG) just flipped the switch for Hangouts on Air, allowing almost everyone to stream their Google+ Hangouts live video chat sessions to an unlimited number of viewers. The company had previously allowed a select number of pre-approved to publishers to stream Hangouts, and the feature has been used by pop stars, TV personalities and even President Obama. “When groups of passionate individuals can broadcast live, together, the results are truly remarkable,” Google Engineering Director and Hangouts mastermind Chee Chew wrote in an announcement blog post early Monday.
Google is publicising and explaining the new feature with the following video:
It’s worth noting that there still are a few restrictions in place in regards to who can use Hangouts on Air. In order to qualify, you’ll need to have a YouTube account that has never been flagged for copyright infringement. The feature is also currently limited to users from some 40 countries.
Making Hangouts on Air available to everyone is a big step for Google+ Hangouts, which already have been a kind of killer feature for Google+. But it’s also an interesting move for Google in general, as the company has been cautious to enter the live streaming space. It launched live streaming on YouTube with select publishers a year ago, and has since slowly been extending the feature a wider range of partners. The introduction of Hangouts on Air marks the first time a large number of YouTube users are capable of live streaming.
Chew told me last month that Google was getting close to bring Hangouts on Air to everyone. Check out my interview with him below: