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Creating with a Chromebook: Live stream on YouTube using your webcam

You don't need any special hardware or software beyond a web browser and webcam to live stream on YouTube. A Chromebook and an internet connection is all the gear you need.

YouTube has two live streaming options you can use on a Chromebook or almost any desktop computer:  the new quick and easy "Webcam" option and the older Hangout on Air live streaming events. Which option you choose depends on the features you need.

FeatureWebcam StreamingHangout on Air
Supported browsers Chrome Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox (may require plugin)
Schedule Event No Yes
Set custom thumbnail Yes No
Multiple participants No Yes
Manage live chat Inside live stream window (or pop-out chat box On video watch page (or pop-out chat box)
Screen sharing No Yes
Overlays and apps No Yes, if the host has an associated Google+ profile (Hangouts Toolbox, Control Room, Camera Man)
Share to social media Yes, inside live stream window Yes, from video watch page
Archive of video recording Yes, up to 8 hours Yes, up to 8 hours

If you want to run a webinar or live broadcast a group discussion, Hangouts on Air is your best option.  The simple Webcom option is best when you just want to point a camera at yourself or an event and start the stream.

If you need more features and options, you will have to use a desktop computer that supports encoder software, so that you can set up a Custom Live Event or use the Stream Now option.

Update April 20, 2020: YouTube Live Control Room has new navigation and new features. Click to learn more.

How to set up a Live Stream on your desktop computer or Chromebook

Broadcast Live with your Webcam

The quickest and easiest way to launch a live stream from your computer is to use the new Webcam option.  Currently you do need to use a current version of Chrome.

1. Sign in to YouTube

2. Click the Create button at the top of the page
3. From the menu select Go Live to launch the live streaming window

4. Add a title and set whether the livestream is public or unlisted

5. Click More Options to select a camera or microphone
6. Click Advanced Settings to enable or disable live chat, or indicate if there is sponsor content
7. When your settings are set, click the Next button

8. Your camera will take a photo to use as a thumbnail. Hover over the image to take a new screenshot or upload a custom thumbnail.

9. Click Share to share the video link to social media or get the video embed code for your website.

10. When you're ready click Go Live to start broadcasting.
Live chat shows on the right side of the broadcast window. Say hi to your fans there too!

When you end your live broadcast, YouTube will show you some basic stats.

Set up and launch a Hangout on Air Event

1. Sign in to YouTube and open your
2. Click your channel icon at top right
3. Select Creator Studio from the menu to open your Dashboard (
4. On your Creator Studio Dashboard click Live Streaming on the left menu
5. Under Live Streaming click Events  (
6. Click the New Live Event button (
7. On the Create Live Event page set the Type to Quick
8. Add a title and set the time for your live stream
9. Optional: Configure the other options for your live stream
10. Click the blue Create Event button

To start your Hangout on Air go back to your Live streaming Events page ( You should see your Hangout on Air listed as an Upcoming Event. Just click Start Hangout on Air to start the Event.

A Hangouts Video Call window will pop up, where you can invite additional participants, configure apps (Hangouts Toolbox, Camera Man, Control Room), and start the live broadcast.  Click the green Screen Share button on the left menu to stream any open window on your device.

The group chat is for the participants inside the Hangout on Air, and is not visible to viewers of your your live stream.

Get detailed instructions how to set up and start a Hangout on Air in YouTube Live Events .

Editing your video archive

YouTube will process your video archive, which may take up to 24 hours after the broadcast ends. Once the processing is complete, you can:
  • Edit the title, description and tags
  • Add or change the custom thumbnail
  • Edit the video, including trimming and removing sections (note that this removes live chat replay)
  • Add Cards and an End Screen
  • Add captions or subtitles


  1. Thank you so much for this article. It was very helpful in highlighting my options for streaming from a chromebook.


  2. I cannot get hangouts live quick chat to work. No one can chat to me. I turn it on in advanced settings. Everything else works the screen share, Mic... Only when I try to play a video clip there is not audio sound on my clip heard. So chat and audio on sharing video clips can you help me? I see people do it all the time. Why can't I?

  3. Maybe you should do a updated video on this, hangouts is not a functioning thing anymore.

    1. Yes, indeed it's time for an update. I plan to do that with some other services as well.

  4. Can you hook up a different camera to chromebook for live streaming. The webcam isnt enough

  5. Yes, but what about video recording for live stream other than the webcam

  6. idk how to go ive sombody help me


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