Hangouts on Air going away August 1, 2019
Hangouts on Air is going away August 1, 2019. And this time it’s gone for good.
Originally the notice on Google’s support page said HoA was going away “later in 2019”, but it has now been updated with an exact date.
For those unfamiliar with HoA, it is a YouTube feature that allows users to easily stream group video chats. It is popular among podcasters and a great tool for interactive community shows. Sadly, it now joins the long list of killed Google products.
Hangouts originally launched as a Google+ (also dead now) feature. It became popular enough that an option called Hangouts on Air was added as a way for celebrities to interact with their fans. Many people thought it was going away in 2016, but it simply moved from Google+ to YouTube Live. Now it really is going away for good.
Is there an alternative?
The Google shutdown message directs people to YouTube Webcam, but it’s not really an alternative: The feature only allows a single person to stream from their webcam. You are not able to bring in guests or share your screen.
You can still use encoding software like OBS, but OBS can’t really replicate HoA without wiring up additional services like Skype.
There are various third party programs that replicate some features of HoA, but we believe our product, StreamYard, is where ex-HoA users will feel most at home. Like Hangouts on Air, users have a unique guest link to invite other participants into the stream, and can also share their screen. The StreamYard studio has a similar feel to the HoA control room. You can change layouts and highlight your guests.
StreamYard is not a free product, but it does have a free version with lots of features. You can check it out here.
Goodbye Hangouts on Air. You will be missed.