How to Use Google Hangouts for Lecture Capture

[Update 9/7/2016] Google Hangouts on Air is being discontinued and integrated into Youtube Live Streaming. Learn how to use Youtube Live Streaming as a free lecture capture solution.

This semester, we’re experimenting with using Google Hangouts on Air for lecture capture. Unlike traditional lecture capture software, Google Hangouts is free and by automatically publishing to Youtube, online storage is already taken care.

What Do I Need To Get Started?

  • First, you need a Google Plus account and a YouTube Channel. If you have a Gmail account, then you already have a Google Plus account, though it may not be configured.
  • In terms of hardware, you will need a microphone, either built-in to your computer or external.
  • Note: For a quick and dirty approach, you may create your YouTube channel through the Google Hangout; however, for best results follow the method below.


Making a YouTube Channel

  • To make a YouTube Channel, you will need to sign into Youtube with your Google account, which you can use for all Google services.
  • To record/upload videos longer than 15 minutes, you will need to verify your account using a phone number.
  • Click on uploads in the top, left corner.

Create Google Channel

  • In the middle of the screen a message will say, “You must create a channel to upload videos. Create a channel
  • Click on the link.
  • A popup window will appear asking for your name, gender, age, as well as permission to use your account information for ads. You can opt out of giving Google permission to use your information.
  • Your newly created channel will look like this:

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 9.19.49 AM

  • You may customize the look of your channel, but it’s not necessary.
  • Unless you want all of your videos to be publicly available, the next step is to click on your icon in the top right of the screen. If you don’t have an icon, there will be a picture of a person’s silhouette.
  • Click on YouTube Settings:

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 9.24.44 AM

  • You can choose to disable ads being shown alongside your videos.

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 9.30.26 AM

  • Next, under Channel Settings, select Defaults in order to set how all of your videos will initially be displayed when uploaded.

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 9.38.25 AM

  • On this screen you will be able to set the video publishing default as Public, Unlisted, or Private. To learn more about privacy settings, click here.
  • You may also set a category like “Education,” select a license, set tags, and choose whether or not to allow comments.
  • Now, your YouTube channel is set up and you’re ready for the next step.

Making a Google Hangout on Air

  • First, on Google Plus, mouse-over the Home icon on the left-side menu. From there select Hangouts.
  • On the next screen, click Hangout On Air and then click Start a Hangout On Air, a new window will open with your Hangout.
  • You can name your lecture capture, using either the topic, or course name and date. Also, you may invite people into the hangout, but this is not necessary for lecture capture.
  • Looking at the image below, you will that your YouTube channel is connected to your GooglePlus account.

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 9.55.16 AM

  • Click on Start Hangout On Air and you will be directed to a screen for additional Terms of Service.
  • If you’ve agreed to the Terms of Service, your Hangout will be created, but will not yet broadcast. Before you broadcast, you can choose a few options like Turn on HD.
  • On the left-side menu, click Screenshare, to set up what you want to record with your lecture capture.

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 10.06.46 AM

  • You will be able to choose from your DesktopGoogle+ Hangouts, or whichever program you have open. Hangouts will not record Powerpoint Presentation mode. In order to capture your powerpoint presentation, you must select Desktop / Screen (wording may change).

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 10.13.15 AM

  • Once you’ve completed this step, click the red button, Start Broadcast at the top of the screen and a 10 second countdown will begin.
  • You’re now recording your lecture!
  • When you’ve finished recording, click the red button that now says, End Broadcast.
  • Your lecture capture will then be automatically saved to YouTube with the defaults you set up earlier.

Sharing Your Video with Students

  • In order to share your lecture capture, go back to YouTube, and click on Videos, beneath your name. It may take a couple of minutes for the video to appear.

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 10.23.18 AM

  • You can click on the video and either send your students the link or use the embed code to share your video through a course website or learning management system.

Have you used Google Hangouts On Air for lecture capture? If so, what’s been your experience and what advice do you have for new users?


Timothy A. Lepczyk

You’re welcome, Henry, I hope it works out. We’ve had some faculty adopt it full time and now it’s spreading through word of mouth.

One great reason for lecture capture is providing a resource for student athletes or students that have health issues.


Thanks for this! What is your experience sharing power point presentations via hangout? I have had a few issues as changing slides. Are you using on mac or windows?

Timothy A. Lepczyk

Hi Gabriela,

I’ve used it on Mac and PC. For Powerpoint presentations, you need to do “screen share” or “share desktop” and not select the powerpoint application. If you select the powerpoint application, it won’t show your slideshow.




Thank you, Tim! Do you do it on google drive? How about videos, have you tried videos? Do videos and power point presentations work for recording on your tube? Many thanks

Peter Miller

Tim is not quite right here – screenshare does work correctly for powerpoint but you have to first start the slideshow, then ALT-TAB (or CMD-TAB or whatever) to get back to the Hangout screen, then you share the ‘Powerpoint Slide Show’ window, instead of the ‘ – Microsoft Powerpoint’ window.


I tried videos sharing screen and they are ok, only a small delay.
Do they work ok fo the recording on youtube? Can you tell me your expeience?

Timothy A. Lepczyk

Hi Gabriela,

I haven’t recorded a Hangout on Air in which I was also playing a video. If you experiment with it, I’d be happy to share your experience in a guest post.




You have to be careful with this as Google’s content scanner seems to really scrutinize hangouts on air. A flag came up almost instantly from Google when some stock video footage was seen in the background, music is another thing you can get flagged on even if it is in the background.

Simon Finch

Fantastic resource – well done and thanks for doing this – I am about to set it up and will let you know if any feedback.

Max Heighton

Thanks Timothy for this very detailed description of Screencapture with Hangouts. This is exactly how I was going to be using it. My voiceover with screen capture. Wish me luck ;)


I am looking for a microphone to get a better recording without as much classroom noise any suggestions?


How do you direct people to your on air hang out ahead of time? Do you just invite them to your channel at the set time or is there a link you can generate before you go on air?


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