During the Social TV Summit in San Francisco Tuesday, Google Engineering Director Chee Chew tipped a major expansion of Google Hangouts that will open up many new opportunities for artists to interact directly with their fans.
Google Hangout video chats are currently limited to 10 people with select users pre-approved to stream their Hangouts to a bigger group of viewers. But soon these Hangouts On Air will be offered to all users. “Our vision is for everyone on the planet to have access to On Air,” Chew told GigaOm.
Imagine letting 10 "VIP guests" (i.e. fans who win a contest) into your hangout to interact during a live Google Hangout broadcast concert, listening party or Q&A with the band. With "On Air" an unlimited number of fans can also watch the event.
Chew refused to predict exactly when Hangout On Air would be widely available, except to say that the company was working hard to launch it asap.