Friday, February 01, 2013

WHY Google Hangouts on Air webinars?

OK, I know we just got the hang of as the generally-accepted platform for viewing online genealogy classes posted at the combined calendar. Now, Ol' Myrt is planning a gradual move to Google+ Hangouts On Air. This post discusses why I am making the jump beginning 1 March 2013. My previous post discussed HOW you can participate as an attendee.


  • The GoToWebinar cost is high. $99 monthly for a room capacity of 100 attendees, and nearly $500 monthly for 1,000 attendees. Google+ Hangouts on Air are free.
  • GoToWebinar requires the presenters screen resolution is 1024x768 when most of our attendees typically have better quality computers and devices. Google+ has no restrictions.
  • Sound goes in and out frequently. Sometimes this happens, but Google Hangouts On Air appear more stable.
  • During the GoToWebinar online seminars I've hosted, the organizer sees 3-5 little pop ups stating “there is a problem with the recording”. G+ Hangouts appear more reliable. The Legacy Virtual Users' Group has a number of Hangouts on Air recordings in their collection.
  • Post-webinar production of the unreliable GoToWebinar recording is time consuming. The recommended use of Converter, augmented by Handbrake just to get a viable recording to upload is a big roadblock. G+ Hangouts on Air are automatically recorded, and automatically appear on YouTube when the webinar ends. Yes they can be edited, but it isn't necessary. I usually only added bumper music anyway.
  • Upload of the recorded GoToWebinar file takes time. G+ Hangouts on Air automatically appear on YouTube when the webinar ends.
  • Storage space for the GoToWebinar file is costly. YouTube is free.
  • Promoting the archived webinar is problematic. YouTube provides access beyond your current circle of FANs.
Basically, Google offers more options, smoother transmission, easy screen sharing along with auto-archiving and file storage at zero cost. GoToWebinar must think of an alternative to keep me there beyond the webinars I've already scheduled at For me, it's just a matter of showing my DearREADERS how to get to a Google Hangout and the move will be simple.

We learned to use GoToWebinar and we can learn to use Google Hangouts.

YES, I'll keep posting to the GeneaWebinars calendar regardless of the platform we decide to use to deliver the online seminar. You can attend online genealogy classes using GoToWebinar, Skype and Google Hangouts On Air. Isn't it a great time to learn about our favorite topic - genealogy?

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.

Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
G+: +Pat Richley-Erickson
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont


  1. YAY! I just LOVE Google so, so much. They offer the best tools all the time for little to no cost.

  2. What is the number limit of people on a Google hangout now?

    1. No known limit. literally thousands have attended. only ten attend in video and audio. The rest are viewers and may comment. It's impossible to see how many attend beyond the initial ten.

    2. Is it the first ten in that get the video and audio or can whoever sets up the HOA pick who gets the V&A?

    3. DearANDY,
      It is EITHER the first 9 that get in after the HOA is set up...


      The organizer first invites certain people who serve as panelists and then the rest of the ten total spots are up for grabs.

      Either way, all attendees can VIEW the audio and video, and make comments.

      Unfortunately the organizer cannot "see" the names of those other folks if they don't post comments. In other words there is no list.

      But literally thousands of people can attend.

  3. I'm a big fan of Google as well. Google+ hangouts has been on my list of to-do's to get better acquainted with. Myrt can you tell me can I make them private, an have invite only type guest list? Or are they completely public? Also when they go up on You-tube do I have the option of keeping them private there as well? For instance could I do a one-on-one with a client using hangout, and keep it private on You-tube, but the client would have access to view it later for reference.

    1. Yes, Lynn, when you initiate a Google Hangout or Hangout On Air, you specify public or private.

      Right now to record, you must use Hangout on Air.

      Yes, the archived Hangout on Air on YouTube can be made private. You can also take it down, edit if desired and upload it again later.

      Hope this helps!

  4. Myrt
    Thanks for the shout out for the Legacy Virtual Users' Group (LVUG) hangouts and for taking the time over the past few days to look into Google+ HOA (hangouts on air).

    When our LVUG started last year hangouts were not recorded - within 2 months Google introduced the HOA and by the end of 2012 they made improvements to the recording process, linked HOAs to YouTube, introduced annotations and automatic captions, and added other editing tools. I really think that Google and individual programmers have done a remarkable job over the past year and look forward to additional improvements.

    For those unfamiliar with Google+ hangouts or a bit uncomfortable with the technology, Google has some very good tutorials about using Google+ Hangouts (private) and Hangouts on Air. I know from our conversations this week that you will do a great job guiding genealogy fans through the process. No system is without hiccups, but I have noticed that the Google employees are more than happy to help and work on improving things every day.

  5. Very happy to hear this - I love Hangouts! Way to go, DearMyrtle!

  6. Last week I gave a presentation at our library based on power point slides. We considered using go to meeting or go to webinar until we saw that the "free" version would have put slides up along with my powerpoing. I've had requests to put that talk online. Do you think it would be possible for me to do this with hangouts on air? I didn't know there was a different product than google hangouts. All I would need to do is record my voice along with the slides. Can't wait to hear from you.

    1. DearKATHY,
      You can't record Hangouts, but you CAN record Hangouts on Air. I am writing a checklist workbook for presenters and attendees summarizing what Ive learned.. You don't have to record your face, just "share your screen."

    2. Dear Kathy,

      With a Hangout you have two options:
      1) You can share your screen, including a powerpoint presentation, or any other window including applications - this is what Tessa's Lagacy group do. Try to avoid too much detail on your slides

      2) You can share the presentation on and there is a helper/viewer that you can use to share the presentation on a Hangout

  7. Ever since attending a couple of Google Hangouts, I've been itching to attend more but haven't been able to find any. (Working with Mozilla Firefox as my browser didn't exactly encourage me to attend them, either.) I'm excited you are making the leap and I'm behind you all the way! Love Google, have switched to Chrome, still haven't gotten the hang of G+, but with your interest and (I hope!) help, I'm ready to make the plunge. Thanks for nudging me to make the change.