After classic Hangouts is retired for G Suite customers later this year, consumer accounts will also be transitioned to Hangouts Chat and Meet. One casualty of this shutdown is Hangouts On Air, which is “going away later this year.”

Originally a Google+ feature, Hangouts On Air was later integrated into YouTube. It allows users to easily host a multi-user video chat through Hangouts and livestream the entire conversation to YouTube.

After starting a new Hangout On Air call, users this week are being presented with a banner about the shutdown later this year. They are advised to try YouTube.com/webcam for “quick streaming.” The YouTube Help page confirms the deprecation, and offers the same alternative:

The classic Hangouts On Air streaming experience is going away later in 2019. For quick streaming, try YouTube.com/webcam

For most Hangouts on Air users looking for “quick streaming,” YouTube’s first-party solution is inadequate for only supporting one camera. It is not ideal for multiple callers located in different places. The immediate YouTube alternative is setting up Live Control Room and streaming via an encoder.

Another solution is Hangouts Meet and its ability to set a video call “Public” for 100,000 in-domain watchers. At the moment, that is only available for G Suite Enterprise and G Suite Enterprise for Education.

We’ve reached out to Google to clarify whether the 2019 shutdown of Hangouts on Air applies to both G Suite and consumer accounts. The latter group will be the hardest hit by this “going away” as there is no simple, first-party alternative that replicates the old functionality exactly.

One solution would be for Google to add multi-user streaming to YouTube, or add YouTube integration to Hangouts Meet. Without doing one or the other, this deprecation seems premature and will require YouTubers (and podcasters) to switch to a third-party app.

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