Google+ Hangouts enable anyone to host a group video chat, and with the On Air component, anyone can record and stream live to their YouTube account. When I first joined Google+ on its second day of existence, Hangouts really stood out. While, let’s be honest, a lot of the functionality of Google’s own social network is similar to Facebook and Twitter, no other social network offers such a robust group video chat tool…for absolutely free.
In the early days, the service had its ups and downs. There would be crashes, performance issues on Macs, and were even some cases of Hangouts On Airs completely failing to record. Yeah, not something you’re happy to find out after having an hour long conversation that’s now in Internet purgatory. However, those days have quickly been left in the dust, and Google+ Hangouts are more robust than ever.
In the past several years, bloggers have really embraced podcasting. With faster broadband connections, including affordable mics and high quality webcams, many have also incorporated video. While you can use a service like Skype to chat with guests, it comes at a price. You have to buy software to record conversations, the connection quality can be hit or miss, and video chat with more than two people requires a paid Premium account. [Read more…]