The Hangouts group video chat platform on Google+ now lets video-chatting groups of up to ten people watch live streaming videos together on YouTube.
The ability to watch recorded YouTube videos together has been possible in Hangouts from the start, but now, YouTube Live product manager Brandon Badger told GigaOM that Google‘s been quietly rolling out live video stream viewing while chatting in Hangouts.
While it’s not exactly simple to enable a live video feed alongside a Hangout chat now, Google plans to add tools that will make it a lot easier to find those live video feeds on YouTube while using Hangouts. According toGigaOM, it’s already possible to incorporate live feeds into hangouts using the following five-step manual method:
- Start a Hangouts session in Google+ and invite your contacts to join you.
- In a separate browser tab, head over toYouTube.com/Live and select a live stream of your choice
- Copy the YouTube video I.D. of the selected live stream. Not sure how to find it? Just click on the share link below the video. You’ll get to see a link like http://youtu.be/XXXXXXXX – the cryptic code after the slash is the video I.D.
- Switch back to hangouts, open the video tab and search for the I.D.
- Click play, and you’re all set.
It doesn’t stop there. As you can see above, this is not a convenient way to incorporate live video into a Hangout, so YouTube plans to create tools that will tightly integrate the feature into its Google+ interface, as well as integrate Hangouts into YouTube Live.
For example, Google+ users will be able to watch a live stream on YouTube and see which of their friends are watching that stream in a Hangout. Then, they’ll be able to join their pals to watch that live video, letting them, say, virtually gather together to watch a live football game, with the ability to interact with each other face-to-face at the same time.
We’re going to select our friends carefully to watch live streaming video with this feature — imagine nine of your most talkative friends distracting you so much that you can’t pay attention to the broadcast. Beyond that, we have a feeling this capability will go way beyond watching football games together. What are some other uses for this new group watching of live streaming videos?