After scrambling to find a way to set up a public Google Hangout for our last Book Club meeting, I thought it might be helpful to share my initial frustrations and how I finally managed to set it up.
First, I tried creating a new Google Hangout via Google Plus, inviting the public and saving the URL to return to later. Turns out that Hangouts created this way are ephemeral. After about five minutes with no attendees, the Hangout ends.
So the second thing I tried was adding an event to my Google calendar, since I knew that calendar events with video calls (Google Hangouts) attached are persistent (we use the same Google Hangouts link for our scrum every day). Unfortunately, I found that I was unable to invite the general public to a Google Calendar event.
The third thing I tried, after stumbling upon this documentation, was creating a Google Plus event. Not only was I able to create a public Google Hangout with a persistent link, but this also gives you the added benefit of having a place where people can RSVP and/or find more info about the event.
From what we've been able to tell, you're still limited to ten attendees on video at any one time and 100 concurrent users total in the chat but this at least gives you a link you can share without anyone in advance of the event and a place where people can RSVP.
I created a quick how-to for this so that I don’t have to spend time head-scratching next time I need to schedule an event. You can find the complete how-to in the INN docs repo on Github.
Hopefully, you find it helpful, too.