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Brainstorming Google Hangouts on Air

Dan Senter has a very compelling use case for broadcasting events for his "A Spiritual Practice" community, and Google Hangouts on Air (HOA) are clearly the way to go, for at least the following reasons:

  • we've already done much of the work for integrating with regular Google Hangouts, so we have some experience with the base technology
  • Having up to 10 people interacting in the Hangout, and then any number of people watching on YouTube (the HOA model) works for Dan, and also allows us to develop a more general "panel discussion" feature centered on HOAs.
  • The fact that you get recording for free, and then the ability to watch the recordings at any time after the fact, is terrific.  As Ryan Anderson has found, it can be difficult to coordinate live events with people scattered all across the world's time zones.  Allowing viewers to participate asynchronously opens this up tremendously

However, Hangouts on Air are a huge Pandora's box of features, and I want to keep the initial focus for this feature as narrow as possible, while still coming up with something useful for Dan, and for Dream to Learn in general.

Here are some initial stream-of-consciousness thoughts on what the HOA workflow could be:

  • as now, the Hangout is attached to a DTL discussion room.
  • a HOA will usually be attached to a scheduled event.  The presenters will be invited, and should ideally confirm their attendance by accepting the invitation.  They'll then get reminders.
  • You'll participate in the HOA event in two different ways
    • Presenters
      • if you are a presenter, then if you have been explicitly invited to the event, you will go straight into the hangout.
      • the presenters for an event can also select specific users or guests who are in the DTL discussion room, and pull them into the hangout (so users can get into the hangout without having to be signed up as DTL users, or accepting an invitation)
    • Participants 
      • Participants will view the event from an embedded window inside the DTL discussion room.
      • They can also view the event directly from youtube if they wish
  • For both presenters and participants, you can share the single friendly DTL room url, which is effectively a 'sub-folder' of the DTL community URL  (e.g. https://dreamtolearn.com/dtl/curious)
  • included DTL app: TBD.  need to see what the off-the-shelf hangout apps do, and where it makes sense to have a custom DTL app
  • Event recording
    • The recording of the HOA will be stored in the community library.
    • The current community library is *very* hard to navigate, so this will require revamping the current library layout (which is part of the 'flow' sprint already)


Where DTL can add value:

  • streamlined setup.  to start a HOA you need a youtube channel.  I don't think we can create the channel for the user using the youtube api's (although still TBD), but we can verify that the channel exists, and has been properly configured, and provide the user with guidance on what to do to set it up if necessary.
  • integrated experience.  you get to the hangout and the recordings from DTL using friendly url's. we handle permissions and the like.
  • build a "library" of recordings.  over time, you can build a library of recordings of on-air hangouts, managed and accessible through DTL.


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About this document

what's the right workflow for Google Hangouts on Air?

Created: February 25, 2014

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