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Google has added an interactive, commerce-ready app called Showcase to Google+ Hangouts on Air to greatly amp up the business value of integrating Hangouts into digital strategy.

The just-launched new feature (shown in the image below) is Showcase app, which Google says “allows creators to direct users to websites, merchandise, YouTube videos and Google Play content right from a Hangout on Air (HOA). This is a great way to help viewers discover additional content relevant to your live broadcast, plus build a Google+ following and deepen your audience interactions”

Among the game-changing features of the Showcase app:

  • viewers can make a purchase, sign up and pay for a service or event, buy a book or other merchandise during a live Hangout event.
  • after the live broadcast, the content cards will continue to be live on the playback versions of the event.
  • The video, including the Showcase cards, can be embedded in a blog, website or landing page, and purchases can be made from within it at any time.
  • The cost of the Hangout? The cost of the Showcase app? Zero. Nada. Nothing. But yes, there’s a learning curve and you’ll save time, money and a whole bunch of aggravation by hiring me to coach you on how it’s done.

    showcase test

    When you use Showcase – which has a steep learning curve – viewers of the HOA are able to click on any of the links (which Google calls “cards”) you have pre-loaded. The content opens in a new tab, while the live Hangout event continues in the other window.

    What that means: during a live HOA event, seen either in a Google+ event page or streaming live on YouTube, you now have the ability to send viewers to sites where they can make purchases – providing that there is a payment mechanism like Google Wallet or PayPal on that site. You can send them directly to landing pages, websites, blogs or Google Play and they can buy products, sign up for newsletters, register and pay for webinars, books, subscriptions, etc.

    HOA Additions-July 2014

    The second new thing that has been added to Google+ event pages is the notation that you can “Broadcast Free”
    As always, Google’s language is clunky and kind of strange. What they are saying is that the cost of broadcasting Hangouts via Google+ and YouTube is nothing. Nada. No money involved. At least for now….

    See also: Google to reward users of Google+ Hangouts and YouTube Live Events with more prominent search placement