Updated Comment Tracker
The updated Comment Tracker is version 2.1.0
This article supersedes the article I wrote on setting up the Comment Tracker in July 2014.
Before we start on how to setup the new look Comment Tracker, it is important to point out that there are two types of Comment Tracker.
1. The Hangout Toolbox Comment Tracker
2. The stand-alone (or Double Bubble) Comment Tracker
The Hangout Toolbox Comment Tracker is very limiting. It does not work with either Google Events or Twitter.
Therefore, we’re only interested in the stand-alone Comment Tracker as it gives flexibility in sourcing comments from Public Google+ Events, YouTube, Google+ Posts, and Twitter.
The main benefit of the Comment Tracker is that it allows us to Track and display Comments from various sources onto the screen. This encourages audience participation and interaction which ultimately can lead to Trust.
About the Comment Tracker
The updated Comment Tracker allows for interaction between the Host (or guests) of the Hangout On Air (HOA), and the audience by collating comments or questions live from them. Comments can come from the Google+ Event page; YouTube, a Google+ post, or from Twitter.
Viewer’s comments can also be brought onto the screen as part of the broadcast.
Before we begin, it’s important to note that the Comment Tracker only works for Public Events. It does not work for Private Events.
Let’s get started. This article will show you how to:
- Install the Comment Tracker.
- Collate comments using the Comment Tracker.
- Collating comments from YouTube.
- Collating comments from the Google+ Event page.
- Manage the Comment Stream.
- Display a Comment on Screen.
- Pin a Comment to the top of the Stream.
- Trash (and retrieve) a Comment.
- Share the Comment Stream with other participants within the HOA.
- Manage Comment Tracker Settings.
- Collate comments from Twitter.
Installation of the Comment Tracker
If this is the first time you’re using the Comment Tracker, you’ll need to install it so that it loads onto the Main Menu of the Hangout Interface.
To download and install, click on this link.
A screen shot below shows the top part of the page that loads:
Click on either “Start a Hangout On Air” or “Start a Hangout”. It doesn’t matter which one.
Although this is starting a Hangout, it is being done to install the Comment Tracker. During this process, if you’re asked if you want to invite friends, just click cancel. If you’re asked to join the Hangout, just click yes.
Eventually, the following Hangout Interface window opens up and you’ll be asked to authorize it.
In the screen shot above you will see “Comment Tracker needs your permission in order to start”. Click the blue “Continue” button.
Clicking on “Continue” will open a standard Google Authorization window.
Click “Accept” and then you are taken back to the Hangout Interface where you see that the Comment Tracker is now in the Hangout Main Menu.
You’ll also note that the Hangout Toolbox has opened by default in the right-hand side of the Hangout Interface. That’s because when you were setting up the Lower Third you enabled Auto Load of the Hangout Toolbox when you enter the Hangout Interface. If it’s not showing then you haven’t enabled auto load.
Congratulations! The Comment Tracker has now been installed and you can exit the Hangout Interface.
Using the Updated Comment Tracker to Collate Comments
When you use the Comment Tracker for an HOA Event, you want to track and respond to comments from the Google+ Event page, YouTube, Google+ Posts, and Twitter. This brings the viewer’s comments onto the screen inside the Hangout Interface during the broadcast.
To get things started, inside the Hangout Interface on the Main Menu, you need to click on the Comment Tracker icon to open it.
Comment Tracker Sources
On the right-hand side of the Hangout Interface screen, the Comment Tracker opens and shows the “Sources” field.
Comment Tracker – YouTube URL Source
You will note that the YouTube URL for the Event has already been automatically added to the Sources field. That’s because when you create an HOA Event, a YouTube URL is also created.
Any comments that originate from YouTube will now be shown in the Comment Tracker Stream.
You’ll also note that the YouTube URL is color coded with a dark blue bar across the top.
Comment Tracker – Event Page URL Source
This requires a slight workaround, but if you follow the step-by-step instructions below it will become second nature.
Firstly, to add the Event Page URL you need to find a Public Reshare of the Event.
Below is the post of the original HOA Event.
This original HOA post above is Reshared. The Reshared post is below.
It is the URL from this Reshare that is added to the Comment Tracker.
To do this, mouse over the date and right click to Copy the URL link – “Copy link address”.
It’s then a good idea to copy the URL of the Public Reshare of the Event.
It is this URL that is added to the Sources of the Comment Tracker.
Paste the Reshare URL into the Sources field.
Then click on “+” symbol to add it to the Sources field.
You will now see that the Reshare of the Event has been added to the Sources field along with the YouTube URL. Also note its color coded light green, which is unique to that Reshare URL.
The next thing to do is load up the real Event which is done by clicking on “Check shares”.
Clicking on “Check shares” will find the main Event source. Now the real or actual Event is loaded into the Sources field and is color coded dark blue. It will also load up any other reshares of the Event that are found.
Whilst “Check shares” is finding other reshares you’ll note the Spinning icon.
After all reshares have been found and added to the Sources field, the Spinning icon disappears.
This is important. Just before you start broadcasting, click again on “Check shares” on the real Event to locate any other reshares of the main Event.
Finally, click the Navigation icon to see the comments from the various sources and also to view other Navigation icons
Clicking on the Navigation icon on the Comment Tracker lists a variety of options.
Comment Tracker Stream
Clicking on “Stream” from the Navigation menu will show all the Comments from the various sources.
These live Comments come from all Sources that have been found and added using the “Check shares”. Each comment can be addressed by the Host and by other participants within the Hangout Interface.
For each live Comment you can “Display”, “Pin” or “Trash”.
Displaying a Comment on Screen
The Display icon is also called the Eyeball icon, and when clicked will bring the comment onto the screen.
The comment on the screen will not only show the Comment, but also the Profile picture of the Page or Profile, and their Name.
To take the Comment off the screen, you click on the slashed Eyeball. This can be done in two places as shown below:
- On the Comment itself, or
- On the top section of the Stream bar. This is advantageous if there are many comments and you’re unable to find the original Comment in the stream.
Pining a Comment
You can also Pin a comment to the top of the stream by clicking on the Pin which turns red. That will lock that comment to the top of the list until it is unpinned or trashed. You can Pin more than one Comment.
Trashing a Comment
Clicking on the Trash icon will hide a Comment from the Stream.
This enables you to concentrate on Comments you’re yet to answer and want to. It also gets rid of comments which don’t add value to your HOA.
Trashing a Comment does not delete it from the Event or source. It only hides it from the Comment Stream.
If you accidentally trash a comment you can bring it back by clicking on “Show hidden” which reveals the comments that were trashed. When “Show hidden” is on, its color is green and the trash can is a red color meaning that it has been trashed.
Comment Tracker Shares
The “Shares” tab in the Navigation part of the Comment Tracker allows you to share Comment sources with other people in the filmstrip.
After the Sources have been loaded into the Comment Tracker by you, the Host, you can share them with other people in the filmstrip within the Hangout Interface. To do this, click on the black curved arrow.
In this particular example, we’re able to Share Comment Sources from 3 different sources with other people in the filmstrip within the Hangout Interface.
It’s common for the Host of a HOA to share the Sources with others in the filmstrip so they can help keep track of Comments.
When the other people in the filmstrip navigate to the Sources area on their screen they will see for starters the YouTube source in a HOA.
However, once the Host has shared Sources by pressing the black curved arrow, then the people in the filmstrip will see a list of other Sources they can add. They can add sources individually or click on the “Add All” option to add all sources.
Once the person in the filmstrip has added all the shared Sources, the Shares list is cleared.
Comment Tracker Settings
The updated Comment Tracker offers a variety of Settings as seen below.
Each setting is activated when the color of the circle is green. A summary for each of the Settings is as follows:
On – Coloured bar on top of cards
Off – No coloured bars
On – New comments at the top of the stream
Off – New comments at the bottom
On – Actions are always displayed
Off – Actions appear if you hover over cards
On – Full comments are displayed
Off – Comments are cut off
On – Full posts/video descriptions are displayed
Off – Only titles of posts/videos are displayed
On – Clearer font and less colours for easier color keyin [Quality of image]
Off – Normal display
Items per Page
Number of Comments displayed per page
Collating Comments from Twitter
Comments coming in from Twitter also require a slight “work around”. This is done by creating a Widget to put into “Sources” field of the Comment Tracker.
It’s easy and I’ve shown you step by step how to do this in my article on setting up the Comment Tracker for Twitter.
In my opinion, the Comment Tracker is the most important app in the Google Hangout app arsenal.
That’s because it enables you to have direct interaction with your audience. That builds relationships and with that comes Trust.
This article has shown you step-by-step how to:
- Install and setup the updated Comment Tracker.
- Source Comments from Public Google+ Events, YouTube, Google+ Posts, and Twitter.
- And finally, manage those Comments.