Morning show uses Google+ Hangouts for webcams

By Cory Bergman Comment

KOMU-TV was the first TV station to put Google Hangouts to work, letting viewers drop into a live video chat right on the anchor desk, even while the newscast is on the air. But an Australian morning show is using Hangouts in a different way, piping several behind-the-scenes webcams into a Hangout, then showing it live on the air.

For example, here’s the makeup room at Channel 7.

And the control room. (See a few more screengrabs here). Sure, it’s not social — viewers can’t join the hangout — but Channel 7 said the goal was to use G+ as a video platform to bring viewers behind the scenes. “I don’t think there was anything extraordinarily revolutionary in the technology, in that we could have linked up webcams before Google Plus,” explains Adam Boland, Channel 7’s social media director. “But it was thinking about Google Plus that inspired us to try this.” Channel 7 is also using Google+ as a video conferencing tool between its bureaus.

Both KOMU and Australia’s Channel 7 illustrate the shortcomings of Hangouts for a broadcast model. In the case of KOMU, only 9 people can join at once (Google’s limit). For Channel 7, there’s no interactivity. But both are interesting experiments that could spark new features and applications of live video chat. For example, Google is planning to roll out the ability to hold hangouts around live YouTube streams. So a given broadcast stream could be the subject of dozens of simultaneous hangouts, scaling to larger aggregate audiences.

Any other applications of G+ Hangouts you’ve seen in the TV world?