Social networks, being still relatively new entities, are constantly trying out new features in pursuit of new revenue streams, while eliminating any avenue that is ultimately proven fruitless in this endeavor. For an example of the latter, see Facebook’s recent decision to end support for Blackberry devices and for an example of the former, there’s the social network’s new mobile video discovery tab called Facebook Live, which began rolling out to users today.
Described by TechCrunch as Facebook’s “full assault on YouTube,” this dedicated hub for watching live and recorded videos could appear in your Facebook mobile app as early as today. Like any Facebook feature, it will be rolled out over a period of time, so you may need to keep an eye out over the next few weeks for it to appear.
The Live video tab will appear in the center of the app’s navigation bar at the bottom of the screen, previously Messenger’s spot, making it easy to discover videos categorized by topic.
Although the YouTube comparison has been made here, the primary live streaming feature of the Facebook Live tab seems very reminiscent of Twitter’s Periscope, which lets users easily broadcast to their Twitter followers from their mobile device.
Indeed, this core live streaming function, introduced earlier in the year, will see a number of upgrades with the Facebook Live tab roll out that put it more in line as a competitor of Periscope. Most notably there will be Comment Replays which simulate how comments popped up during live views when playing back a recording.
Other new features include the ability to stream live videos within Groups and Events, the ability to use Facebook’s six reaction emojis during a broadcast visible to viewers and broadcasters, five color filters that are changeable on the fly, viral invites that allow viewers to notify friends to join the audience, live video audience metrics and more. These feature improvements in some ways put Facebook Live ahead of Periscope, especially in terms of making broadcasts more easily discoverable.
Of course, time will tell whether Facebook Live will overthrow Periscope as the leading mobile live broadcast app, but either way, users can likely expect rapid improvements from both in the coming months as they compete for supremacy.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi