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Google Hangouts is an audio/video chat platform (with internal text chat) with the ability to be streamed directly onto YouTube via Google's cloud (although local streaming software such as OBS or XSplit can also be used). Along with Google+ and YouTube, Hangouts are the lifeblood of the Great Debate Community and are the primary platform for interaction between its participants. Hangouts began life in 2011 as a feature of Google+, but were upgraded to a stand-alone platform in 2013. Prior to 2013, videoconferencing interactions between members of the community took place using Skype calls or other platforms, and then were either streamed on sites like BlogTV or uploaded to YouTube after completion. The introduction of Hangouts changed the culture of the community dramatically, and hangouts soon became the many activity for many contributors, rather than making individual videos.