August 18, 2012

YouTube Had 231 Million Olympics Views; Hangouts Get Private Messages & New API

Google announced that YouTube had 231 million streams of the 2012 Olympics across the U.S. and 64 Asian and African countries. 72 million of these views came from the official Olympic Games channel. At peek hours, YouTube was streaming live video to more than half a million people simultaneously.

YouTube's been trying to break into the streaming space by broadcasting popular events like the World Cup and the royal wedding. So far, most people still don't think of YouTube as the place to go for live viewing. But if they keep getting high profile events like this, they may eventually be able to provide a real alternative to television.

On unrelated news, a couple of Google interns got together and stitched up an experimental version of a private messaging system for Google+ Hangouts. To use it, type "/to" followed by someone's name, followed by your message. That message will be sent privately to that person. You don't even have to type in their full name, just enough of it to not be confused with anyone else in the chat.

And in a purely coincidental move, the Google+ team also updated its Hangouts API. For those of you not in the know, an API is something that allows developers who don't work for Google to still use Hangouts within their own apps. This API version 1.2 gives developers new features like:

- Add sound effects like a laugh track or applause
- Control which guests in On Air hangouts appear in the video broadcast. (We actually used this feature to build the Cameraman app: http://goo.gl/w6TQF)
- Get more information about hangouts, including topic, preferred locale, and the YouTube ID of On Air hangouts
- Manage memory, audio and video resources more efficiently