Hangouts on Air Get Full-Screen Solo-Performance Display Option

By Cameron Scott 

Google began offering a full-screen option for Hangouts on Air, or impromptu video interactions saved for subsequent viewing, the company said this week.

Performing artists and others sometimes use the video chat Hangouts on Air to broadcast a performance. By default, Hangouts normally includes small icons for each of the participants. It displays a large frame around all of the interactive boxes.

But Hangouts on Air, a performance or speech that is meant to be viewed later, sometimes seek to display the activity of just one person. Google launched the broadcast option in May 2012 and has made tweaks to accommodate that use case.

At the end of 2012, Google said that it would suppress the blank participant headshot display windows for Hangouts On Air that had just one participant. This week, it began suppressing the smaller headshot icon for the main participant as well, since it was redundant. The active window can now also take up the entire screen.

Google also supports the use of full-screen for one participant in a multi-person Hangout on Air. Several people may be active during the Hangout, but want to display just the performance of one person. In that case, a Google app that runs in Hangouts, Cameraman, allows the administrator to opt to display just one participant, eliminating the other head shot display windows and making available the full-screen option.