How to Host a Google+ Hangout On Air

*This post was updated on May 17, 2013 to reflect recent changes made to Google+ Hangouts on Air.

Since we run our business almost entirely on Google Apps, we’re pretty partial to Google+. To all the Google+ haters out there, we understand your frustration because Google+ is sometimes not the simplest of social networks to use. But there are several key features, and one in particular (Hangouts On Air) that make Google+ our social network of choice.

Every other month, we host FlashPanel Live, a Hangout On Air given by our CEO to discuss some of the recent changes and upcoming additions to FlashPanel. After hosting three of these events, and hitting a few stumbling blocks along the way, we’ve boiled down the process of hosting a Google+ Hangout On Air to an exact science.

To hold a Hangout On Air in which you have both an organizer (BetterCloud) and a presenter (our CEO, David Politis), but no other attendees, follow the steps below: *Note: We created these steps for a Google+ Page, not an individual user account.*

First, create an event on Google+ by hovering over the top left-hand navigation button at the top of the Google+ interface – this will differ depending on what page you’re on – but it will likely say “Home.”

Create an event on Google Plus

Make sure to check ‘Make this an event on air’ under ‘Advanced’ settings – doing so will allow anyone to join the event. If you do not select this option, guests will have to be explicitly invited to the event.

Make this event on air

Before your event’s start time, start a Hangout on Air by hovering over the top left-hand navigation at the top of the Google+ interface. After hovering over the button, you’ll see a dropdown menu, scroll down and select “Hangouts on Air,” then click the button on the lower right side of the screen, which reads “Start a Hangout on Air.”

start a hangout on air

The page (or whoever is managing it) is now the Hangout’s organizer.

Now, set up your Hangout on Air by entering the name of the Hangout and to add a presenter, invite the desired person to join the Hangout.

Set up a Hangout on Air

Once they join the Hangout, go into the Hangout apps on the right hand side and choose the ‘Cameraman’ app – this will allow you to show or hide event presenters.

cameraman

Grab the embed code from the top of the Hangout window and use the iframe HTML code to embed the Hangout onto your site – you can also grab the YouTube URL here.

Embedding a Google+ Hangout

Paste your site link or YouTube URL into your event’s stream so people know where they can view the Hangout On Air.

Finally, click ‘Start Broadcast’ at the top of the screen to allow viewers to watch (doing so will also begin the recording).

We know this seems like a lot, but setting up the Hangout this way ensures that audience members are view-only, eliminating any distractions, interruptions or stray noises.

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  1. In hangouts on air, is possible to have a generic and fix link (unic to the channel or user) to use in iframe html whathever the real youtube link is?
    This were important to fix the iframe html in a page to all the live events (on air)…

  2. Pingback: Five Unconventional Uses for Google+ Hangouts | BetterCloud Blog

  3. Thanks for your fantastic blog post. I have 2 questions for you:
    1. Have you had success when using the desktop/screen share option when doing a Google HO on air?
    I tried this the other day and the desktop kept repeating itself, layering a smaller desktop on top of itself over and over and over again.
    - I was doing a training and need to go to FB and different places on the internet.

    2. I just want to make sure I understand, is it possible to create the HOA and grab the Youtube URL in advance as long as you start the process creating a Google Event?

    Thanks so much,
    Marion
    p.s. I’ve been searching for this info for a couple weeks now.

    • Hi Marion,

      Glad you found the post helpful! To answer your questions:

      1. When you start sharing your screen you need to immediately switch to the screen you want to show. In your case, I would recommend opening Facebook in a separate window and then switching to that window when you screen share (Google+ will give you an option of which window to display).

      2. Once you start the Hangout on Air (and even before you press “broadcast”) you can grab the YouTube url or embed code. This will appear at the top of the Hangout window.

      Hope this helps!
      Gail

  4. I went back and created a google+ event from my Google+ Page (not personal profile), clicked on advanced settings and clicked on Google HOA. I invited someone, but what I can’t figure out is by doing it this way how I can get the actual youtube watch link (BTW it does show the red ON AIR button).
    -The big thing that I’m trying to do, that would make things run more smoothly and efficiently for me is if I can grab the unique URL in advance (vs when I’m set up the Google HOA through the Google Hangouts on my Google+ profile and then if something happens.. such as my
    browser crashing I don’t have to recreate the HOA and deal with a new link at that point.

    I am pasting the link into a pretty link on my blog.. so that the link that I’m sharing with others
    won’t change.. This is what I’m doing for training events, but for other hangouts that I’m doing I’m definitely going to start embedding them in a capture page.

    Thanks for your help and hope you don’t mind all the detail!
    Marion

    • Hi Marion,

      To get the embed code you have to start the Hangout, but you don’t need to press “Broadcast” that way you can set everything up before making the Hangout public to all viewers.

      However if you’re the host of the Hangout and your browser crashes you will lose the Hangout. On the other hand if a viewer’s browser crashes they can rejoin because they are not the original host.

      If you’re not using the Chrome browser I highly recommend checking it out – I can’t remember the last time it crashed.

      Thanks!
      Gail

  5. Hi there,

    I created a Hangout a few days ago and am just trying to change the settings so that it says ‘make this a hangout on air’. However, the option is blanked out and I can’t seem to select it.

    What do you suggest?

    Thanks
    Henry

    • Hey Henry,

      Unfortunately, after creating the event, you can’t change the event type. We learned this one the hard way. You could either create a new event, or at the time of your current event launch a new hangout, make it on air, then share that to the stream of your existing event.

  6. We seem to not be able to use apps as the host of an on-air hangout. Other participants can use them. How have you got around this?

    • Hi Kevin,

      Have you added apps to the Hangout? You can do this by using the left-hand sidebar on the HOA screen. It should say “View more apps” and then “Add apps.”

      Hope this helps!
      Gail

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