Why we moved away from Google Hangouts a year ago

Google+ Hangouts On Air is on the way out, ending Sept. 12. This means that any video-streaming and webinar platform built on top of Hangouts on Air, like WebinarJam, is at risk.

A long time ago, we were built on top of Hangouts, too. When our team was small, it made sense to piggy-back off of Google and other third-party streaming services like Livestream and Ustream. But we built Crowdcast with the ability to easily swap out the video-streaming engine, with the goal of creating our own streaming experience in the future.

We had a love-hate relationship with Hangouts. On one hand, leveraging Hangouts meant that we could support large-scale events from the get-go. It was free and supported HD streaming/recording. The downsides, however, were too large to ignore. The delay—from the moment the speaker cracked a joke to when the audience laughed—was 45 seconds at the time. That's 45 seconds of dead silence. It was a clunky experience to invite folks up to the screen. And it was just plain confusing to use.

Jason Zook and Caroline Kelso Winegeart hosting a killer crowdcast using Hangouts

We always knew that you can't build a long-term business on a platform you don't own. A crucial piece of Crowdcast was dependent on another service, over which we had no control. And Google is notorious for making product changes without warning. So when new video-streaming technologies became available last year, we made our move to a more reliable engine that allows us to fully control the experience.

What was the result of that move?

We were able to create a completely new experience on the web—a new way to gather people together in a live, interactive environment. No software to download, no video delay and anyone from the audience can hop on screen with an invitation. We've opened up the ability for more engaging and authentic interactions between content creators and their audiences.

Crowdcast has been able to change how solopreneurs, experts and teachers share their knowledge online. And we continue to make it easier. If you're looking for new streaming options, we invite you to give Crowdcast a try—sign up for a free trial and join us for our weekly live Q+A with the team to ask questions about our product and where we're headed.

Thank you, Hangouts on Air, for helping us get to where we are today. We look forward to seeing what the next chapter of livestreaming looks like for Google.


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