According to VentureBeat, YouTube is launching a new live streaming service that’s very similar to Periscope and Facebook Live. This new service is called YouTube Connect, and it would include apps on Android and iOS. Google’s entry into live streaming comes more than a year after Meerkat was released.
YouTube Connect features include immediate streaming, chat, tagging, news feed listing, and broadcast notifications. Additional features include the ability to store and replay broadcasts for on-demand viewing on the user’s YouTube channel. YouTube users have had access to live streaming for a while now, but only if they use Creator Studio. Creator users often find their experience with the tool less than favorable.
YouTube Connect does not include the ability to share broadcasts on Twitter or Facebook. This feature helps improve engagement and makes it easier for a user’s followers to share broadcasts with others. It is not immediately clear if the share feature will be added before the launch.
YouTube Connect is now part of the YouTube empire, joining the original YouTube, YouTube Gaming, YouTube Music, YouTube Kids, YouTube Creator Studio, YouTube Capture, and the umbrella service YouTube Red.
“One thing YouTube Connect is reportedly lacking is Facebook or Twitter integration to let the world know when you’re broadcasting. It’s hard to imagine Google would go live without the feature since live broadcasts are hard to communicate to interested parties if you aren’t able to publicize them,” says PC World contributor Zach Miners.
Google was a bit behind in the gaming industry with game streaming, so the company released YouTube Gaming to compete with Twitch. Now, YouTube Connect will help Google catch up in another area where it has fallen behind. Apps like Periscope and Facebook Live are pacing far ahead of Google in the live streaming space. With the launch of Connect, YouTube content creators will finally have the ability to interact with their fans in real-time.
Live streaming grew in popularity in 2015 with Periscope’s virtual battle with Meerkat for live streaming dominance. Facebook Live entered the ring, and Meerkat finally waved the white flag and decided to become a video-based social network.
By August 2015, Periscope had surpassed 10 million user accounts and 1.9 million daily users. That’s only four months after the app launched. Snapchat has over 100 million users, and with Facebook opening up live streaming to all users who have an iPhone, the trend isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
In November 2015, Facebook reported the platform had eight billion daily video views. According to Robert Hackett of Fortune Magazine, just two months later Snapchat, a relatively new company in comparison, had caught up to Facebook, reporting they too had eight billion daily video views. Snapchat’s rapid success with live video was a loud and clear message to Google.
Google’s launch of YouTube Connect implies a move to normalizing live streaming for executives, though-leaders, and businesses that want to reach a larger audience in real-time, completely unfiltered. Tools like YouTube Connect, Periscope, and Facebook Live have the potential to challenge traditional broadcast mediums.
“The rise of live-streamed video can also put users up against data caps, with expensive results, as video broadcasting uses large amounts of data, and if it’s done via a mobile device, most service providers charge hefty fees for exceeding the cap,” says Ethan Baron of Silicon Beat.
This assumes users view live streamed video using their mobile device’s data instead of Wi-Fi.
Google has not announced the release date for YouTube Connect, but VentureBeat speculates the release will coincide with Google’s I/O developer conference in May, because that’s how Facebook announced the launch of Facebook Live.
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