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Hangout on Air apps Control Room, Hangouts Toolbox, RingCentral require a Google+ Profile

When consumer Google+ shuts down on April 2nd, consumer users running a Hangout on Air or Hangout video call from Google Calendar will almost certainly lose access to third party apps like Hangouts Toolbox and Control Room. It is not clear whether G Suite accounts will still have access to these apps.

While there currently isn't any notice inside the Hangout on Air interface, I've personally confirmed that deletion of the Google+ Profile on an account makes the apps disappear and the option to add new apps is removed..

In April 2017 Google stopped supporting the  Google+ Hangouts API. This removed most Hangouts video call apps, leaving only a few business and Hangout on Air-related apps running.
From the Google+ Hangouts API FAQ, regarding changes on April 25, 2017

Since 2015, these apps have only been available in Hangouts video calls launched from Google Calendar events or Hangouts on Air live broadcasts. And - notably - they require a Google+ Profile or Google+ Pageon the same account.

What that means is that when consumer Google+ shuts down on April 2nd, and consumer Google+ Profiles are deleted, it is almost certain the remaining apps will no longer be available on consumer accounts.
  • RingCentral, UberConference, and other business-related apps will no longer be available in Hangouts Video Calls
  • Control Room and Hangouts Toolbox will no longer be available in Hangouts on Air 
What will not be affected:
  • You will still be able to make Hangouts video calls on desktop and mobile device
  • You will still be able to run a Hangout on Air live broadcast from YouTube Live Events
  • You will still be able to use Chat and Screenshare
  • It appears you will still be able to use the Cameraman app in Hangouts on Air

Note that the old desktop video call interface that supported Hangouts apps has not had a significant update (other than the removal of apps) since the newer desktop version of classic Hangouts launched in August 2015. Since 2016, development has focused on Hangouts Meet, which is currently only available for G Suite accounts.

Google has stated that consumer Hangouts users will eventually be migrated to Hangouts Meet video calling, which has business features built in, but isn't any timeline for this transition yet.

YouTube suggests that instead of a Hangout on Air you try the their built-in webcam live streaming, which works well for a single participant who doesn't require screen-sharing.

And in the meantime you can continue to use Hangouts video calls on calendar events and Hangouts on Air without the apps.

A brief history of Hangouts video calling

A look back at the development of Hangouts video calling and Hangouts on Air. Note the shift from "Hangout Parties" and social hangout out to more business-focused uses, plus a change in the technology that no longer supports Hangouts apps.
June 2011: The Google+ Project field test launches, with Hangouts video calling.

September 2011: The Google+ Hangouts apps is demonstrated with the Google Effects app, which lets anyone sport a mustache. Hangouts on Air launch, with limited availability.

November 2011: Google+ Hangouts API v.0.1 first release .

December 2011: Google Effects app lets anyone in the video call don antlers. Also this month Hangouts on Air were integrated with YouTube and got easier to launch.

May 2012:  Hangouts on Air launches for Google+ users worldwide Google+ Hangouts API moves out of preview

June 2012: : "The next generation of Social is in a Hangout" (Google I/O 2012) with a demo of some of the cool features. New Hangout video call apps introduced: throw a YouTube Party, Google Art Project, Story Before Bed, Symphonical and more.

July 2012: "Pro Broadcasting" app Cameraman added to Hangouts on AirNow you can start a Hangouts video call from the Google+ app on iPhone or iPadGmail video chat upgraded to Hangouts (for both G+ users and non-G+ users),

May 2013:  Google+ gets the spotlight at Google I/O.  Google launches a stand-alone Hangouts "that combines text, photos and live video across Android, iOS and your computer."  You can download Hangouts from Google Play, the App Store, and the Chrome Web Store. It’s also part of Gmail and Google+.

August 2013: Hangouts go HD, for high resolution Hangouts on Air and video calls. (more info)

September 2013:  Google+ Hangouts API last update.  Live Q&A for Hangouts on Air launched.

October 2013: "Broadcasters can now schedule Hangouts On Air, then promote them with a dedicated watch page. Once you're live, Control Room lets you moderate the conversation with eject and remote mute."

November 2013: Google Helpouts launches, designed to connect regular users with experts over live video.

December 2013: Control Room app for Hangouts on Air rolls out. You can now launch a Hangout on Air from the YouTube Live Events manager and schedule a Hangout on Air Event in Google+ and add a trailer. Plus new buttons to start a Hangout video call or Hangout on Air from your own website.

May 2014: Hangouts video call Draw app introduced, letting you draw on the people in the call.

June 2014: Hangouts video calling moves to WebRTC, no longer requires a plugin in Chrome.

July 2014: Hangouts video calling available to accounts without a Google+ Profile, but the only apps available are Screen Share and in-call Chat, and you cannot invite Google+ Circles;
Introduced the "Showcase" app in Hangouts on Air, letting you direct viewers to websites, merch, YouTube videos, Google+ Profile or Google Play content during a broadcast.
Hangouts is now covered under the same Terms of Service that support other Google Apps for Business (now G Suite) products.

September 2014Multi-way video calls for Hangouts on Android and iOS without a Google+ profile"Present to Everyone" in video calls. Introduced the "Applause" tool in Hangouts on Air

November 2014: Share Google Drive links from the chat inside a Hangouts video call

December 2014: Major update to the Hangouts Android app,with video filters including sepia, vignette, and black & white.

April 2015: Google Helpouts shuts down.

June 2015:  Full-view screen sharing launches in Hangouts video calls.

July 2015Google announces Google+ will no longer be the social layer across Google and will stand alone. This doesn't affect Hangouts, which hadn't required a Google+ profile for a year prior to this.

August 2015Hangouts Android app gets a new Material Design look and on desktop launches. You can cast from the Android Google Slides app to a Hangouts video call.

September 2015: Capture (take a picture) app and filter app that let you adjust lighting are quietly removed.

November 2015"New Google" launched. The new design does not include Hangouts on the sidebar, but Hangouts on Air can still be launched from new Google+. Hangouts introduces new desktop video calling experience for consumers which is more reliable and "more streamlined" with no in-call apps other than screen sharing. Calendar Events for consumers and Hangouts on Air still use the older video call interface today. G Suite customers can invite Hangout video call guests who don't have a Google account.

March 2016:  Hangouts video calls launched from G Suite accounts can have 25 participants, up from 15.

August 2016: Cast the contents of a Chrome window to a Hangout video call

September 2016:  Google announces "Meetings for teams" a new business-focused Hangout video calling experience. Hangouts on Air moves to YouTube. Google+-only Hangout on Air apps - Q&A and Applause - are no longer available.

March 2017: Hangouts Meet, new enterprise-focused video calling, is publicly announced.

July 2017: Hangouts Meet gets in-video-call chat

April 2017: Google+ Hangouts API no longer supported, most remaining apps removed. The remaining apps are for business (Dialpad, RingCentral, Slack, UberConference) and Hangouts on Air (Hangouts Toolbox, Control Room, Cameraman).

October 2017:  G Suite Enterprise customers can record a Hangouts Meet meeting and save it to Google Drive

November 2017:  G Suite Enterprise customers can host Hangouts Meet video calls with up to 50 participants

April 2018:  All G Suite customers can create Hangouts Meet meetings with dial-in phone numbers

May 2018:  G Suite customers migrated from classic Hangouts video calling to Hangouts Meet

June 2018: Hangouts Meet compatible with other video conferencing systems, Skype for Business users can join Meet from the Skype app.

September 2018: G Suite Enterprise customers can live stream Hangouts Meet video calls to in-domain users (not public, and not linked to YouTube).

November 2018:  Hangouts Meet video calls on G Suite Enterprise accounts can have up to 100 participants 

December 2018: View Google Calendar attachments in Hangouts Meet (G Suite only)

March 2019: Hangouts Meet lets you simultaneously present and be seen (G Suite only)

April 2019: Consumer Google+ shuts down, Google+ Hangouts video call apps are no longer available.


  1. Hi Peggy. This is very disturbing news to me. I count on control room especially to allow a panelist to control what the audience sees during my broadcast. I do have a GSuite account but you seem to indicate this may or may not be a solution.

    Unless Meet develops similar functionality to HOA in the near future I am going to have to find a reasonable alternative and quickly. I've been evaluating Zoom for some time but it also has a few vital shortcomings. It looks like I need to get serious about making changes...

    Thanks, as ever, for providing vital information on all the tools I use. You are a treasure!


    1. In the short term I think it's worth trying it out with the GSuite account. I would get that set up today if you haven't enabled live streaming for its channel. The down side is then you would either have to just create a playlist on your main channel, or re-upload those videos.

      I wouldn't expect Meet to have that option any time soon. Meet does currently offer internal live streaming to Enterprise customers, but that doesn't save to YouTube. In the future there may be more options, but that won't be for a while.

      I know a few people using Zoom who really like it, so that is definitely worth investigating. The User2User Community, which has regular Zoom help related discussions has moved from Google+ to Discord, and you might want to check it out.

  2. I just did a hangout on air tonight (via YouTube LIVE) and got an official notice for the first time that Hangouts on Air is "going away" later this year. Wow! Scrambling to find a replacement.

    1. Fortunately Hangouts on Air aren't going to disappear immediately, which hopefully will give you time to get a replacement set up.


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Spam and personal attacks are not allowed. Any comment may be removed at my own discretion ~ Peggy