Live Video is the hot new topic of 2016, and Google’s attention in this space, or lack of, has actually amazed me. But is live video really as great as people are saying?

It’s been almost 5 years since Google introduced Hangouts On Air, and it surprises me how little attention it has gotten. I think it may actually have been a little ahead of its time, back then mobile was not ready to take on live video. This past year live video platforms have exploded in popularity like Periscope, Meerkat,, and recently Facebook Live.

But since we’ve seen Facebook Live take on this space, Meerkat’s entire platform strategy is changing, has shut down despite its 3.9 million users, and just now, according to CNET, Hangouts On Air is being absorbed by YouTube Live.

“The struggle with Livestreaming — is that we need to show you something awesome, that’s being made right now. Turns out, that’s really tough.” Shaan Puri, Owner,

If you didn’t know (like me) YouTube Live actually has a mobile app to do the same as most of those other platforms, that is live broadcast from your mobile device. But again where is the press around it? Maybe it’s because it just morphed out of the normal YouTube offering and wasn’t as obvious as a “hot new startup”, or maybe live video just isn’t as great as the media makes us believe.

YouTube Live will be absorbing Hangouts On Air as of September 12, 2016, an obvious decision considering the state of the live video scene, and also the fact that they were essentially the same base service.

Features like Q&A, Showcase, and Applause won’t be moved, but could be in the future. Are you disappointed? A select few might be.

But are the reasons for “going live” with video not as good as everyone thought? Is it still going to be a game changer in marketing?

There is still a huge opportunity with live video for marketing, reserved for excellent, high-value content. The bar for really good live video is hard to reach and the quality drops off quickly for the masses. Going forward my bets are on Facebook Live, just because of the sheer size of the platform. If any companies have a chance at making it work long-term, it’s them or YouTube.

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