Google has updated Google+ today with a couple notable and highly requested new features for Hangouts on Air users. The first big new feature is the ability to rewind live broadcasts, allowing users to navigate back to the beginning of a broadcast regardless of when they started watching. Other improvements include higher quality video for those joining Hangouts on Air from a mobile device, as well new auto-playing broadcasts that don’t require users to refresh the page when aHangout starts.
Google did note that “it may take longer to set up your Hangout On Air. For example: the ‘Start broadcasting’ button may be grayed out for a bit, before it turns red.” That change is to provide users with enough time to get everything in place before starting the Hangout.
Google appears to have been able to implement the changes by now processing the video in real-time rather than after the fact, which also means it’s promising Hangouts will be instantly uploaded and ready to watch on YouTube the second you go off air:
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– Rewind live broadcasts. Regardless when you start watching, you can always go back to the beginning.
– Access recordings immediately after your broadcast. Once you’re no longer On Air, your recording will be waiting for you on YouTube.
– Watch higher quality Hangouts On Air on the go. If you’re tuning in from your mobile device, you’ll notice better-looking video.
– Start live broadcasts without having to refresh. When you visit a page with a Hangout On Air (like Events or YouTube), the video will begin playing as soon as the show starts — no refresh required.