Google-owned YouTube is trying to catch up with Facebook Live and Twitter-owned Periscope. It's finally adding a live-stream button to the YouTube mobile app, even though it's already offered the feature in a limited capacity for about 5 years.
Shortly after announcing the news at the VidCon annual online video conference in Anaheim, California, Google published a blog post to explain how the feature will work. We've therefore detailed everything you need to know, and we will update this piece over time with more information as it becomes available, or when YouTube actually launches its redesigned mobile app with this live-streaming button.
YouTube live-streaming: Didn't this already exist?
Yep. YouTube began offering live streaming on YouTube in 2011. It live-streamed the Royal Wedding in 2011, for instance.
Google also said that about "one-sixth of the Internet" watched Felix Baumgartner leap from space live on YouTube in 2012. And just this year, YouTube broadcasted a 360-degree live stream of the Coachella music festival. The thing to note however is that Google hasn't allowed just anyone to broadcast. It limited live-streaming to specific creators (like Red Bull, which broadcasted Baumgartner's leap).
However, on 24 June, Google announced it would bring the power of live video to creators everywhere.
YouTube live-streaming: When will it be available?
Google hasn't yet confirmed an official launch date for YouTube live-streaming. It has only said: "Soon, we’ll be putting the power of YouTube live streaming in the palm of your hands." That being said, the redesigned YouTube mobile app and live-streaming button is already available for select creators, including The Young Turks, AIB, Platica Polinesia, SacconeJolys, and Alex Wassabi.
It should be rolling out more widely soon.
YouTube live-streaming: How does it work?
From what we can tell, YouTube live-streaming will be an entirely mobile experience. That means it will be baked right into the YouTube mobile app. There won't be a new, single-purpose app just for live-streaming. For instance, YouTube has an app called Creator Studio that makes it easier for creators to manage their channel on the go. They can check their latest stats, respond to comments, and get notifications.
There's also an app called Capture that lets creators start recording in a snap, then edit, and share videos of any length right from their phones. Unlike these functions, YouTube live-streaming won't get its own app. You won’t need to open anything else, at all. You'll just hit a big red capture button right in the corner of the YouTube app, then take or select a thumbnail photo, and broadcast live.
YouTube live-streaming: What does it feature?
When you're live-streaming via the YouTube mobile app, subscribers and fans will be able to watch and chat in "near real time". Google has shared images of YouTube's upcoming mobile redesign, and it looks a lot like Periscope. Chat bubbles will appear overlaid on the video, allowing you to talk to fans. You'll also be able to switch the camera from the front-facing to rear-facing view.
Because live-streaming will be built right into the YouTube app, it will have access to all the features regular videos have on YouTube. You’ll be able to search for streams, find them through recommendations and playlists, and protect them from unauthorized uses.
YouTube live-streaming: Is it too late to the game?
YouTube may have offered live-streaming capabilities for a long time, but it hasn't offered a single-purpose app like Periscope, nor has it widely offered the ability to launch a broadcast straight from the YouTube mobile app (like how Facebook Live works from the Facebook mobile app). Both of these methods are easier to use and offer a push-button experience in which users can simply click to go live.
YouTube is now scrambling to catch up. It's updating its mobile app so that the ability to go live will be baked right in. Maybe, it's a little too late for the company; it's hard to tell at this point. But one thing is for sure: live-streaming is totally in right now, and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere soon. So, if YouTube can jump in now, it's better late than never. Right?
Want to know more?
Check out YouTube's blog post for more details.