Google Hangouts webinars – Are they a good choice? This is a very popular question that the video below considers.
Our washing machine is leaking. Badly. Every time we use it water pools on the floor, which we keep under control with strategically placed towels. It does not require imminent action but the machine is overdue for replacement. I have started the hunt for the Noud’s new washer. A 7 or 7.5kg washing machine seems to be the right size. Prices on my favourite white goods website vary from $499 – $2,495. Wow! They all wash clothes. The least expensive one comes with 16 wash functions and a 2 year warranty. Is there really an advantage in paying the extra money for the more expensive products?
This same question applies equally to washing machines and webinar software. With a sticker price of zero dollars, Google+ Hangouts on Air provides than $5,000 per year savings compared to some of the higher priced webinar options. However, are Google Hangouts webinars a good choice?
If you are unfamiliar with the four types of webinar platforms I encourage you to watch this previous video first and then return to this page. The below video takes you on a short tour showing you how to use Google+ Hangouts on Air.
Click here to obtain the Webinar Platforms Guide described in the video.
What are the advantages of Google Hangouts webinars?
- Best price ever. Let’s start with the obvious – Hangouts are free! This is wonderful because if anyone is serious about presenting webinars then Hangouts take away any objection that the cost is too high.
- They work. Yes, Google+ Hangouts on Air actually work. Usually. They experience some quality issues I reference later in this article. However, do they work? Yes, they do.
- Anyone can watch. You can invite anyone to view a Hangout “live” via a link you provide to them. This can be done either through your YouTube site or embedded onto your website. Seriously lots, as there is no advertised maximum number.
- They record themselves. Hangouts auto-record and the hangouts hang out on YouTube and your Google+ page.
What are the disadvantages of Google Hangouts webinars?
- Clunky. The bells and whistles are clunky. Hangouts does offer various options to make your hangout more engaging and appealing. However, setting up a Hangout on Air is not as intuitive as other webinar software options and it is more difficult to integrate fancy features that other webinar providers seamlessly include in their offerings.
- Quality issues. In my observation, hangouts do experience more frequent periods of audio dropout and video interference than the better quality corporates and independents.
- The time lag. Behind the scenes, a hangout is converted into an appropriate format for being recorded to YouTube and is then made available for viewing. These technology tricks require some time however, and as a result there is a time lag between when the presenter speaks and shows their screen content and when the viewer hears and sees the presentation. This lag is typically between 20-50 seconds. There are ways for clever presenters to manage this so that the viewers can be totally unaware of the time lag, but to do this requires some clever planning and classy skills from the presenter in order to still maintain active engagement with the viewers.
- Cheap and cheerful. Using Google+ Hangouts on Air may appear a little cheap and cheerful, perhaps even cheesy, if you are promoting your webinars to corporate types who are more familiar with using corporate or independent webinar systems.
- Google account. Participants must have a Google account in order to be an on-air presenter. However, a Google account is not required in order to view the hangout. In either case, obtaining a Google account is free and easy to do and if you already have a Google mail (Gmail) account then you already have a Google account.
If you want to dive in and explore setting up your own Google Hangouts webinars then I recommend you view an article written by Gregg Lander as a guest post on Jeff Bullas’ site, which you can access here. To create your own hangout visit this page.
Have you had positive or negative experiences using Google+ Hangouts On Air? Please click here to have your say in the YouTube video comments.