Google has an impressive resume of highly impactful, successful products. For instance, products like Google Search and Google Docs are used by millions around the world daily.
But no business is perfect. Even the most inspired innovation can fail if the market just doesn’t get into it. That’s why, over the last few years, Google has started to cut their losses and kill products that never quite hit the mark.
Google Play Music, Google Glass, and now Google Hangouts on Air have been retired, which may come as a surprise to users who relied on these products.
Don’t worry, though—it’s not all bad news! While you may have lost your favorite live-streaming service, there are plenty of Google Hangouts on Air replacements.
What Was Google Hangouts on Air?
Google Hangouts on Air launched in 2012, with Google adding live-streaming and community elements to their already existing Hangouts platform.
At the time, it made perfect sense. Effective live-streaming services weren’t particularly well-designed, so Google had a massive window to establish themselves in this space.
Their plan worked for a while. Google managed to get President Obama and Pope Francis to live-stream on its platform. Combine this with a list of solid support features, and Google Hangouts on Air managed to attract quite a few users.
This usage didn’t last long, though, as the market began to flood with competitors. Eventually, YouTube Live began to pick up steam, and live video was a more natural extension to that platform. Over time, it became clear Hangouts on Air should be absorbed by YouTube Live.
The 10 Alternatives to Google Hangouts on Air
Here’s a list of ten Google Hangouts on Air replacements on the market. Whether you’re live-streaming a podcast, a Q&A, or your cooking channel, you may find the tools you need here.
Be.Live is a simple, reliable streaming tool. If you’re looking to expand your audience and reach, Be.Live lets you stream on sites like Facebook Live and YouTube Live.
You can sign up using your Facebook or Google accounts and quickly set up your stream in either space.
Beyond that, there’s a surprisingly deep level of customization in Be.Live’s presentation. When you start using Be.Live, you’ll be able to add your logo, custom frames, and branding colors to the stream.
If you want to go even further, you can add name tags and agendas to the lower third of the screen during your streams. You can even download your streams in HD once they’re over and upload them to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Whether you’re looking to stream on Facebook Live or YouTube Live, Be.Live could be a strong Google Hangouts on Air replacement. You can try their basic plan for free to test it out yourself.
Discord is often seen as a gaming-centric platform. While there are certainly plenty of gamers using this service, what makes Discord stand out is their emphasis on two things: community and transparency.
This is a live-streaming tool that works best if your community is already on Discord. This doesn’t mean it’s off-limits to you if your audience doesn’t already use it, but it may take some extra legwork to get people on board.
If your audience and products revolve around gaming, you want to try Discord. It lets streamers display the games they play and the activities they’re engaging in. This is a fantastic Google Hangouts on Air alternative if you’re looking for a way to engage with this demographic.
At this point, you’ve probably heard about Zoom. In fact, “zooming” seems to be the word used for video chatting, even if a different platform is being used! But there’s a good reason it’s on everyone’s mind: Zoom is a robust live-streaming product.
One of the most compelling points of replacing Google Hangouts on Air with Zoom Live is that many communities are already familiar with Zoom. Millions of people are using Zoom daily, whether for work, school, or catching up with old friends.
Getting users to adopt an entirely new service or tool can be challenging, no matter how loyal your community is. Zoom’s level of familiarity may make it easier to retain your audience while you transition from Google Hangouts on Air.
Zoom offers a variety of features like virtual hand raising and polling to keep your community engaged. The fact that they let you stream your webinars and meetings to multiple platforms simultaneously is just the icing on the cake.
Streamyard is built around a simple idea: create an experience for live streamers that’s easy to learn and use.
This platform doesn’t ask you to download anything; it runs in your browser. If you already have a following on LinkedIn, Facebook, or YouTube, you can live-stream to all of them using Streamyard.
Streamyard recognizes complexity makes it difficult for streamers to connect with their communities. If you’re looking for a Google Hangouts on Air replacement that removes technical barriers and limitations, this is a tool you’ll want to try.
With useful features like audience comments popping up on screen and call to action buttons in your streams, Streamyard simplifies your live-streaming process so you can focus on what matters most: your audience.
In the hunt for your Google Hangouts on Air alternative, you’re going to find lots of products that promise to offer more. Many alternatives promise more features and integration.
But Talky.io doesn’t take that approach. Instead, Talky addresses a smaller niche, focusing on providing a simple video chat tool designed for groups of up to 6 people.
What Talky lacks in features, it makes up for with its simplicity and ease of use. Using Talky is as simple as starting a chat and sending your room link to the people you need to chat with.
In a sea of feature-heavy tools, Talky might seem underwhelming at first. But if you’re looking for a Google Hangouts on Air replacement anyone should be able to use, this may be a fantastic option.
6. OBS Studio
For a lot of streamers, this is the gold standard of live-streaming tools. What makes OBS Studio so noteworthy? Simple: the customization.
Aside from being a free, open-source software you can download and start using instantly, it’s sponsored by some of the biggest names in live-streaming. Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch have all supported OBS Studio. It’s safe to say if you have a favorite streamer, they’re likely using this.
Who is OBS Studio for? Well, it’s technically for everyone looking to start live-streaming. This depth makes it such a powerful tool, but it can also present some issues.
Think of it this way: OBS Studio is like Photoshop, with most other alternatives being more like Canva. OBS Studio is often a great tool for veterans of the live-streaming world and those not afraid to get their hands dirty.
Speaking of noteworthy live-streaming tools, we can’t ignore the current king of the live-streaming world: Twitch.
The company that put Mixer out of business, there’s no denying Twitch is one of the most popular live-streaming tools on the market. And while many think Twitch is a platform primarily about gaming, that’s not the case.
Businesses regularly promote their products on Twitch with marathons of shows. Art and philosophy streams have also started to take the spotlight, with a heavy emphasis on community engagement.
While it can be challenging to establish a presence on the site, success on Twitch may mean a massive increase in your community size and quality. It’s worth looking into if you’re looking for a Google Hangouts on Air replacement.
Spreaker does one thing, and they do it exceptionally well: it supports podcasts.
Whether you’re looking to host, create, distribute, or even monetize your podcast, Spreaker has something for you.
The reason Spreaker made the Google Hangouts on Air alternative list is simple: there aren’t enough tools dedicated to podcast live-streamers. What really makes Spreaker stand out is they go above and beyond for podcasters.
With Spreaker, you can publish your podcast quickly and easily using their Content Management System. From there, you can distribute your podcast across major podcast platforms.
Spreaker handles monetization, too, letting streamers auto-insert ads at any point in their podcasts.
If you’re serious about podcasting, Spreaker is a tool you should consider.
9. YouTube Live
If you’re wondering which of these tools Google wants you to use, it’s probably YouTube Live. Initially, Google tried to merge Google Hangouts on Air with YouTube Live, but the transition didn’t go incredibly well.
Still, there’s an appeal to using YouTube Live. Aside from the rich infrastructure YouTube and Google offer—plenty of features and a robust support system—live streaming on YouTube is made simpler by one thing: the platform understands user expectations.
When users are on YouTube, they already expect to consume content. This means when you create live content for them to engage with, it’s probably an easy transition for them to make.
Likewise, if you love the Google Hangouts on Air ecosystem, you’ll probably feel right at home in the relatively similar YouTube Live ecosystem.
10. Facebook Live
As far as innovation goes, Facebook Live doesn’t offer much that YouTube Live and Twitch don’t. That said, Facebook Live does have one ace up their sleeve: when you stream on this platform, you have access to billions of people.
We can argue about how impactful social media sites like Facebook have been in popular culture, but one thing is for sure: everyone and their grandmother is on Facebook. This means if you want access to a massive audience, being on Facebook may be a good idea.
Their live streaming tools aren’t as robust as others on this list, and the tools aren’t tailored to a particular industry or genre. But, Facebook has a reach that’s second to none.
Seeing your favorite live streaming platform vanish is frustrating. But there’s no reason to worry about the future of your content. As long as you’re willing to explore and adapt, you’re sure to find the right tool for your brand.
Gaming, cooking, and art streams have great community-focused tools like Twitch, Discord, and Talky.
Streamers looking for massive audiences and reach can use Facebook Live and YouTube Live.
Whatever you’re looking for, you may find the right Google Hangouts on Air replacement right here.
What alternative to Google Hangouts on Air is your favorite?