If you’ve got a Chromecast, it’s possible that you’ve thought about some creative Chromecast uses, including considering how you might use it to Chromecast a Hangout session. Why is a different question. But how? That’s actually surprisingly easy.
First off, there are a number of methods offered by other people online. Don’t bother with them. You don’t need another extension (least of all the malware-ridden one I found), and you don’t need to use a special URL. It’s far easier than that. Seriously.
Okay, so I will make a few presumptions here, and that is that you have already set up your Chromecast correctly, installed the official Google Cast Chromecast Chrome extension for your browser and made sure that your Chromecast and browser are using the same local WiFi. That much is a necessity for any casting from your browser, so you’ve probably done this before and know the drill.
Start A Hangout
Now, head to Hangouts and start up a hangout. You don’t need to invite people yet, since you’re still setting up. Just get a hangout window up using the “Start A Hangout” button in the bottom-right of the screen. What you do next is magical and yet so simple.
Cast Your Hangout To Your TV Using Chromecast
Copy the URL from your hangout window, then paste it into a new tab in your regular browser window. Close off the original hangout window and refresh your new one. What this does is get your hangout into a tab that has your browser toolbar and app buttons on it. So now all you have to do is click the Chromecast button as you would for any other session. Done!
Now, Why Would I Chromecast A Hangout?
You’re not alone in wondering why you’d ever want to cast a hangout. But, there are good reasons!
Firstly, if you’re using hangouts to chat to family a long way away, you may have noticed that one computer screen is not always enough. Especially if that screen is on your laptop. In order to let everyone in the family get a good look at the people you’re chatting to, casting to the family TV makes a lot of sense. You would only see the people watching that TV if you positioned your webcam above the TV, but it could work just as well with some people huddling around the laptop/desktop while a few just observe via the TV.
Secondly, this same group hangout idea could be a fun way to connect concurrent parties. I’m thinking of New Years’ parties where there’s no way to be in several places at once, but you can at least all celebrate together using hangouts to connect your parties.
Now, many people forget that hangouts are being used for things other than small group chats. There are also public hangouts on air that feature lectures, concerts, cooking shows and MakeUseOf tech-heads squabbling over the latest news headlines. Since these hangouts are designed to be watched TV-style rather than as participatory hangouts, it makes perfect sense to sit back on your couch and watch it on your TV. Then you can also force your family to enjoy the weird public hangouts you love so dearly, thus making it a sociable thing (or something). That said, these actually use YouTube, which means you should be able to also click through to watching on the YouTube site, then use YouTube to cast directly.
Tips For Casting To Your TV
Don’t forget to turn the sound down on one of your devices – preferably the TV. If there is sound getting picked up and sent back into the hangout you’ll get a horrible feedback loop.
Try using a webcam with long cables to position it in the most useful location for your participants. You might be able to get the whole family sitting on the couch into the picture at once. If you’re trying this you might also want to get a dedicated microphone to pass around.
So, what do you think about casting your hangouts? Is it something you will try? What will you use it for?