Hanging out ‘on the air’

By Anne Collier

It gives new meaning to the term “public discussion.” Google has just made it possible for users of Google+ to “broadcast” their Hangouts, USATODAY reports, like Conan O’Brian and Jamie Oliver, PC Magazine reports. In other words, on Google+, anyone can be a “broadcaster” now. “Hangouts on Air differ from normal Hangouts [of up to 10 people] only in that the conversations are recorded,” according to the latter. To make their hangout public, users just launch a hangout as usual (by clicking on “Hangout” in the left-hand column of their main Google+ page, then on the red button that says “Start a Hangout” in the upper-right corner of the Hangout page). Once the hangout’s launched, they just click “Enable Hangouts on Air” (users can also choose to click “Restrict minors from joining the hangout” just below that). Everybody invited to the hangout will be able to see how many viewers their hangout has. Google will ask users if they want to link Hangouts to their YouTube channel. If the answer’s yes, “Google will automatically upload a public recording to a user’s YouTube channel, as well as add a YouTube link to the Google Hangout post in Google+,” PC Magazine adds. [Note how language changes. We used to think of a hangout simply as a place. Now it’s both a place and a session – a chunk of time and interaction in that “place.”] See also “A Parents’ Guide to Google+” at PlusParents.org, provided by ConnectSafely.

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