Video streaming has really taken off in the past year, with the fast rise of Periscope and Meerkat.
In August of last year, Facebook decided to hop on the bandwagon of live streaming videos, but they were only available for celebrities and public figures.
Starting this week, everyone will be able to stream videos live right in the Facebook News Feed. Facebook is starting by activating the feature for iOS users in the U.S., but they promise to expand it to both Android and iOS users worldwide soon.
The new streaming feature is called Live.
To use it, you simply tap the Update Status button and then select a new icon for Live Video (the icon shows a person with two rings around the head).
You’ll be able to write a short description of your video and then choose the audience you want to share with.
Then simply start recording. As you stream, you’ll be able to see the number of viewers, the names of your friends who are watching, and a live stream of comments.
Once you’re finished, you can choose to delete the video or to save it. You can then post it to your Timeline like any other video.
This ability to save the video sets it apart from competitors such as Meerkat and Periscope.
Facebook’s Live is also a bit more personal. While Meerkat and Periscope encourage you to share your stream publically, Facebook’s seems meant to be shared just with your group of friends.
This seems to position Live somewhere between video chatting (like Skype and FaceTime) and normal video.
In the moment, you can share a live event with your group of family and friends. Then you can save it for posterity (or choose not to). This means you can use it for exciting events you want to share right in the moment without making them entirely public, with the added benefit that your friends will be able to watch it later, too.
It remains to be seen how many Facebook users will take advantage of the new Live feature. One advantage is that it’s right within the Facebook News Feed, so you don’t have to use a separate app to create a live stream. Not everyone will constantly have events that they want to broadcast live on Facebook, but maybe Live will bring out a little bit of celebrity in all of us.
Written by content manager Meghan Woolley
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