Mar 05

Google Hangouts on Air: how to watch or host one

Reading Time: 7 mins

All sorts of people are now doing Google Hangouts on Air. In America it’s pretty big. Even President Obama has broadcast to the nation through Google Hangouts, answering questions from US citizens and giving updates on what he’s doing. Bands have launched new records through Google Hangouts and professors are giving lessons on it.

Basically it’s amazing, but, loads of people still don’t know about it, which is a shame because it’s a very useful tool for all sorts of people. At MoneyMagpie we’re using it to interview interesting people and talk about different ways to make and save money.

Still, as with all new technology, it takes a bit of getting used to! So we have put together this guide to the basics of Google Hangouts on Air so you can get watching and creating your own Google Hangouts in no time…particularly those that we run (check out Jasmine’s Google profile for news of our latest ‘Hangouts’).


What are Google Hangouts

google hangoutsA ‘Google Hangout’ is a live video chat service which allows a host to connect with up to nine other people. It’s a great tool for people wanting to do professional video interviews or host a business meeting with work colleagues.

It can also just be used as a bit of fun for you and your friends.


What is a Google Hangout on Air?

If you want to, you can use Google Hangouts as a free, online broadcast that anyone in the world can watch (if they know it’s happening. This is called a Google Hangout on Air.

It can be your own TV channel to speak to the world and is potentially a ground-breaking new type of online broadcasting. Not only that but, if you want it, anything you broadcast will be recorded while you do it and then almost immediately uploaded to your YouTube channel.

It’s pretty clever!


How to watch Google Hangouts on Air

So you know someone is about to host a Google Hangout on Air but you’re not quite sure how to watch it.

Thankfully it’s very easy once you know how!

Basic requirements

To watch a Google Hangout on Air you will need:

  • A Google+ account. Simply go to here to get started.
  • You will also need to make sure your computer meets all the system requirements (like it has audio and can play video etc)

Finding the hangout

  1. On the Google Hangouts page, type the name of the person who is hosting the hangout into the search box which says ‘search for people, pages or posts.’
  2. Once you have found the person you are looking for, click on their name and then add them to your circles.
  3. Now you need only go on to that person’s page when the Hangout is due to start. A black box which says ‘Hangouts’ will be on their page.
  4. Double click that box to watch the Hangout. Simple!

If the host has enabled the Q&A app you will be also be able to ask questions by clicking ‘ask a new question’, entering your question and then clicking ‘Submit.’

google hangouts

How to reply to a Google Hangout Invite

If a Hangout host has invited you to join a Hangout, you will get a request on your Google page in your Hangout list which you are free to accept or decline.

That’s it.


Buzz-pics-of-Jasmine-0542Put Jasmine in your ‘Circles’ to watch our Google Hangouts on Air as they come up.





Hosting Google Hangouts on Air

 Basic Requirements

  • Hangouts on airYou will need to make sure your computer meets all the system requirements.
  • You will also need a YouTube account. If your YouTube account is not already connected to your Google+ page, find out how to connect them here.


Starting a Hangout On Air

  1. On the Google homepage click the drop down menu at the top left of the screen that currently says ‘home.’ A drop down list will appear and you must click on ‘Hangouts.’ This will navigate you to the Hangouts on Air page.
  2. Click the blue box which says ‘Start a Hangout On Air’.
  3. A box will appear that will allow you to name your Hangout, let you write a brief description of what it will be about and invite guests. You can also decide if you want the broadcast to start now or later.
  4. If you select ‘later’ you can choose the time of the broadcast. If you do this you will then need to go to your Google event page when you are ready and click start.
  5. If you have not done so already, it will ask you to download the Hangout plugin. This is a short and simple process, just follow the onscreen instructions.
  6. Once you have started your Hangout on Air you should check with everybody in the Hangout that your picture/audio quality and lighting is up to the standard you want. Nothing will be broadcast publicly yet, so there is no hurry.
  7. Once you are ready to publicly broadcast simply click the ‘Start Broadcast’ button on the upper right of the screen. There is usually a short delay between you and the video that will appear on your Google page. This shouldn’t worry you, however, just continue on as normal.
  8. Once you have finished, click the red ‘Stop Broadcasting’ button.

Controlling the broadcast

As the host, it’s your responsibility to keep everything running smoothly.

  • You’re able to ‘mute’ or ‘unmute’ people in your hangout by clicking the audio icon next to the person’s photo.
  • You can also adjust their audio level the same way.
  • If you click the dropdown box to the right of a person’s name you can give them the same controls as you by choosing ‘Give Control.’
  • Using the same method you can also choose to eject someone from a Hangout.

google hangouts

Q&A app

There are many apps which you can use on Google Hangout, but the Q&A app is one of the most useful.

The Q&A app allows viewers to submit questions. You can only turn on this app before you start the broadcast. Simply do so by clicking the Q&A app on the Hangouts On Air event page.

Viewers’ questions will appear on the screen and you can select a question to show which one you are answering.

When you’ve finished answering that question you then click ‘Done.’

This is particularly useful for viewers who are watching your broadcast once it has finished, as they will be able to click on one of the questions asked and go straight to that moment in the video.


Jasmine says...

Quote 1

Google Hangouts are a fantastic idea. They might seem tricky at first but once you get the hang of them the possibilities are huge!

Quote 2


Your video on Youtube

Once you have finished your broadcast Google will then upload the entire thing to your Youtube channel (assuming you have connected the two up).

When it is uploaded you can edit it (sometimes it’s a good idea at least to top and tail it to make it look tidier) and then make it public so that anyone can see it.

This is a really helpful tool as it means that anyone can see your Hangout, even if they weren’t around to watch it live. Clever stuff!

Also, check-out the Google Hangouts that we have done already. They’re uploaded onto Jasmine’s Youtube channel here.


 Making money from Google Hangouts

At Money magpie we’re always looking for new ways for people to make some money, and Google Hangouts offers a few potential ways to do just that!

  • Google Helpouts takes Hangouts to a whole new level. If you have a specific skill that you can teach others through a Hangout, for example teaching a musical instrument or giving someone IT advice, you are able to set up a Google Helpout. You can charge what you like for these sessions, although this is a new market so don’t price too high, and you can choose to charge by the session or by the minute. Payment is carried out through Google Wallet so you will need to set yourself up with an account. Google charge a 20% transaction fee for all except health related Helpouts. But if you’ve got a skill to share, why not give it a go?
  • Use it as a selling platform. If you have a product to sell then Google Hangouts offers you the perfect opportunity to showcase that item. Your Hangout can become essentially your own personal shopping channel. You can demonstrate it, answer any questions about it and really provide a personal experience for the customer. It’s not only items that you can sell though. For example, if you have a website or blog and you are using something like Google AdSense then advertise your site. The more web traffic you get the more you are likely to earn from advertising on your site. Why not create a lower third that has your website address? 


Further information

For help with a specific problem, post your question on the Google Hangout Forums.

MoneyMagpie_Google-Hangouts (2)


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