How to Create a Private Google Hangout

This post is part 2 in a series. For Part 1, Review of Webinar Software Platforms, click here.

Google Hangouts is a great tool for doing webinars, and a lot of business owners and marketers are really geeked out about it. But what if you’re doing an event that you don’t want to have splattered all over Google and YouTube for the world to see?

I found myself in this situation recently, and after a LOT of research, I had reached the (wrong) conclusion that there’s no way to do a private Google Hangout.

But then my friend and Google Hangouts expert, Alex Mandossian, clued me in: what I actually wanted to be doing was a YouTube Live Event, not a Google Hangout (or Hangout on Air).

Huh? What’s the difference? I asked. The answer:

Google Hangout. An online video gathering of up to 10 people. All participants can talk, and everybody can see each other.

Google Hangout on Air (HOA). An online video gathering of an unlimited number of people. Up to 10 people can be presenters; and presenters can either talk or not, depending on how the HOA is set up. (a non-talking presenter might be, for instance, an admin assigned to monitor the chat roll).

YouTube Live Event. A mechanism for broadcasting a live event to an unlimited number of participants. There can only be one presenter (this is the actual live event itself – which can be a huge seminar, just you in front of your webcam, or anything in between), and the broadcast can be set to either public, private or unlisted. That’s the magic phrase right there – a YouTube Live Event can be set to either public, private or unlisted.

An unlisted video is one that’s accessible to anybody who has the link. A private video is one that’s accessible only to those email addresses you’ve shared it with. This has been true of all videos on YouTube since May 2010.

Are you beginning to understand this stuff a whole lot better than you did just 2 minutes ago? Great.

With those terms defined, let’s talk about how you can do a private Google Hangout YouTube Live Event.

You might be wondering: why on earth would you want to do a private Google Hangout in the first place? After all, isn’t the whole point of a Google Hangout that it not only hosts your webinar, it also delivers traffic to it?

Yes. However, let’s use the right terminology. A Google Hangout on Air works like a webinar. A Google Hangout, remember, is just a video chat between you and up to 9 of your friends.

So yes, one of the very cool things about Google Hangout HOA is that it can bring a whole lot of viewers to your webinar. That’s probably the main thing that has a lot of marketers so excited about it.  

But the other very cool thing about Google Hangout HOA is that it’s a way to broadcast what you’re doing to an unlimited number of people for free.

Which brings us to the reason I wanted to do a private Google HangoutHOA … YouTube Live Event.

I do live events all the time. (like my “Clear Your Money Blockages” workshop coming up on June 6).

One of the limitations of live events – traditionally – is that people can only attend if they live in the area, or they’re willing to fly in. This was a real problem for me, since I have a customer base in a number of different cities, and a lot of my events are 2- or 3- hour evening workshops that don’t merit a flight and hotel stay.

But if I could somehow stream the live event over the internet, now people could “attend” from the comfort of their homes, no matter where they lived.

Enter, Google Hangouts YouTube Live Events.

Of course, there have been platforms like UStream available for a while, which would also allow you to live-stream an event.  But the beauty of YouTube Live Events is that:  

  • It’s right there in the YouTube account you already use all the time, so you don’t have to familiarize yourself with yet another form of technology

  • Your participants also don’t have to learn yet another form of technology, or sign up for another account

  • It’s totally free (the free version of UStream is ad-supported, which is always a nuisance)

  • You can get a darn good result without any fancy equipment whatsoever – just your webcam and a decent mic

  • It works even at really slow internet speeds – 1.0 mbps up and 2.0 mbps down is recommended

So with all that said, the only thing that’s left is to walk you through the actual setup.

  1. Go to your YouTube Video Manager.
  2. From the menu on the left, select Live Events.
  3. Click on the button in the upper right corner, “Add New Live Event.”
  4. In the setup, ensure that you change “public” to either “Private” or “Unlisted,” according to your needs (see the note above).

And with that, you’re done! Was this helpful? Tell me about it in the comments below.


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