Individuals and groups planning on using Google Hangouts On Air to live-stream content to audiences around the world had better hurry.
Those wishing to schedule new Hangouts, take note: Google announced Aug. 15 that it is moving the video-streaming service to YouTube Live from Google+ effective Sept. 12.
New live-stream events cannot be scheduled on Google+ after Sept. 12, and all users—even those who already had events scheduled after that date—will need to move to YouTube.
Users with recorded events on Hangouts On Air will continue to have access to the content on YouTube. A read-only version of recorded event content will be available in the Activity Log on Google+, the company said.
On a web page announcing the move, Google described the process users will need to set up Hangouts On Air with YouTube Live. It also listed some of the applications and features currently available with Hangouts On Air that will not make the transition to YouTube—at least not immediately.
Among the features that will remain are the Q&A feature, Showcase and Applause, Google said. Users wishing to include a Q&A with their live stream on YouTube will be able to use a Q&A feature available with Google Slides instead.
“You can also use various social media platforms to gather questions ahead of the event,” Google noted. Those wishing to showcase their event could use the YouTube event description to share links with the audience, Google said.
Google launched Hangouts On Air in September 2011, but only to a small number of broadcasters. At the time the company described it as service that would let people create and broadcast “onscreen experiences” to a wide audience, just as Hangouts did on a smaller scale.
Prompted by what it described as the creative ways in which the initial community of broadcasters used Hangouts On Air, Google made the feature available to everyone on Google + in May 2012.
Google so far has offered no explanation for its apparently sudden decision to move Hangouts On Air to YouTube Live. No data also appears to be available on how widely used the service is among users looking to live-stream events to large audiences.
So it is unclear whether declining participation and interest in the service prompted the decision. It also is not clear if the lack of mobile support for Hangouts On Air influenced Google’s decision to move the streaming feature to YouTube Live.
But it has been used for some prominent Hangout broadcasts, including a Jan. 30, 2012, event during which President Barack Obama conducted a virtual interview on his State of the Union address.