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Lindsay Schuster

Blab versus Google Hangouts: A Comparison

Lindsay Schuster
Blab versus Google Hangouts: A Comparison

The newest “it” thing to hit live streaming is a web-based site called Blab.

Blab is definitely quickly becoming a top contender in the live streaming services that are available these days.

One of thing things I have been seeing is that Blab is being called the Google Hangouts killer. I decided to investigate some of the major differences of Blab and Google Hangouts to see if Blab could truly make Google Hangouts obsolete.

What is Blab?

Let’s start with the basics – what exactly is Blab? What is a Google Hangout? Here are the descriptions according to each platform:

Blab – “a place to watch, join, and interact with live conversations about the topics that matter most to you.”

Here is a screenshot from a recent Blab I was in:

Blab.im screen shot

Google Hangouts – “you can host and broadcast live discussions and performances to the world through your Google+ Home page and YouTube channel.”

 Here is a screenshot from a webinar I hosted on Google Hangouts:

Blab.im screen shot

How Many People Are Included?

Blab allows for conversations for up to four people, whereas Google Hangouts allows for up to ten. Blab keeps the same layout while people are speaking, whereas Google will switch the camera view to only the person speaking.

A Blab is started by a host and requires a minimum of one other person to join in order for it to continue. Google Hangouts requires a host, however, it is not necessary for someone else to join in order to continue. This makes Blab a truly social environment where conversations naturally start to happen.

Chat Boxes

Another very prominent feature in Blab is the chat box down the right side of the screen. This allows the audience to ask questions and converse with both the people on screen and those that are also watching. It truly makes you feel that you are part of a community.

Google Hangouts does have a chat box, however it is often not used because the majority of people watching are often not actually watching from the Google Hangouts page. Google Hangouts allows your viewers to watch it from the actual Hangout page (the only spot where you can see the chat box), YouTube, through a webinar software or embedded on a website.

Blab only allows you to watch a live event on the actual website.

Login Process

Blab is integrated with Twitter, so you can log in with your Twitter account and get started. To participate or run a Google Hangout, you must have a Google + profile.

Your profile on Blab is similar to any other social network; you have people you follow as well as followers.

Both Blab and Google Hangouts can be accessed on a desktop. Blab is currently not supported in Safari.

Both platforms have mobile apps.

Scheduling

Blab and Google Hangouts allow for scheduling of events. Any subscribers to the event will be notified when it goes live. Any user can subscribe to a Blab, however, not everyone can subscribe to a Google Hangout.

Privacy Settings

Blabs are public for anyone to see. You cannot block someone from watching one of your broadcasts. You can however, black them from coming in one of your “seats” so that they do not appear on camera. You can also block someone in the comments section.

With Google Hangouts, you can select/invite only certain people to watch. You can also have your replay on private so that only selected people are able to view it.

Recording

With Blab, you can choose whether you want to be On or Off the Record. If you are On the Record, you simply hit a button that will start recording the Blab. If you do not hit the On the Record button, your Blab will not be recorded and gone forever.

Google Hangouts automatically records your Hangouts and sends you a YouTube video link if you are the host. The recording includes the entire Hangout, whereas Blab’s recording only includes what you have indicated to record.

Screen Sharing

Google Hangouts allow you to share your screen with an audience. Blab does not allow this.

Overall, I do not think that Blab is going to officially “kill” Google Hangouts. I do think many people will jump over to Blab from Google Hangouts though, especially those who want to use it to just…Blab with others.

If you are looking for a little more privacy with your lives streams, it is best to stick with Google Hangouts. Many people use Google Hangouts as a webinar platform and to perform coaching or conference calls. I don’t think Blab will ever offer private streaming, only because it seems that it has been built on the premise of truly interacting with people.

What do you think? Have you tried Blab? I would love to know in the comments below.

Lindsay Schuster is a Social Media Strategist who is helping keep social simple for entrepreneurs. She lives in Toronto with her husband and shih-tzu. She pretty much lives on Twitter, so be sure to say hi to her @lindsayschustr.

Comments

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Trish Corlew
Trish Corlew
22Social offers an integration where you can watch the blabs on Facebook. And if you are signed into Twitter, you can interact right there on Facebook. SWEET!!!
Daniel Taibleson
Daniel Taibleson
I logged in with twitter and it said an email is required too. Annoying.
Kathleen Burns
Daniel Taibleson
That is annoying! If it already has your twitter handle, it should have your email too. :/
Daniel Taibleson
Daniel Taibleson
Kathleen Burns
Exactly my point... :P
Lindsay Schuster
Lindsay Schuster
Daniel Taibleson
That's strange, I don't remember having to give my email address.
Daniel Taibleson
Daniel Taibleson
Lindsay Schuster
You don't remember or you didnt?
pbanas
pbanas
Sounds like all the benefits are actually a shorter list of features. Simplicity may be what wins the race, but it sounds like what you gain, you might lose in reach, unless you have really hot content.
Lindsay Schuster
Lindsay Schuster
pbanas
From what I've been seeing, the reach is great because people seem to be "hanging out" on Blab and looking for new Blabs. I find with Google Hangouts, unless someone knows that you will be hosting one, they won't be on there. I may be wrong though!
Paolo FABRIZIO
Paolo FABRIZIO
I think that Blab is more immediate (login via Twitter) and more interactive (chat boxes). However it's still a beta version, so we shall see the future developments of this young platform.
Lindsay Schuster
Lindsay Schuster
Paolo FABRIZIO
I'm looking forward to seeing what they do in terms of developments in the future!
Kathleen Burns
The only downside to Google hangouts that I've found is it does have a lagging problem sometimes, depending on the size of you audience.

Blab reminds me a little of Twitch.tv format with the chat option. Do you find the chat distracting when hosting a Blab chat?
Lindsay Schuster
Lindsay Schuster
Kathleen Burns
Yes I definitely have found Google hangouts has a lag. Blab really slows down my computer so I find that difficult. Others dont seem to have a problem.

You are absolutely right about the chat being distracting! I think one has to be very good at "multi tasking" in order to manage it. I know it helps if you have a co-host and whoever isn't talking will monitor the chat. It's definitely not my strong suit - I know I read a comment and then went completely off track :)
Kathleen Burns
Lindsay Schuster
I wonder if blab has a specific RAM and processor requirements to run it smoothly. If your computer is a little older, it might not meet their requirements. Something I should probably investigate as well if I try out the platform.

As for chat distraction - it happens! Co-hosts are great for switching off on these duties.
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