YouTube's reportedly getting into the mobile live streaming game to fend off Facebook Live, which recently opened up to Android users, and Twitter’s Periscope. The new app, called YouTube Connect, comes with all the features you’d expect in mobile live-streaming apps such as chat and tagging, according to VentureBeat.
YouTube Connect will reportedly roll out on Android and iOS with the ability to record and stream video, as well as view videos created by others. You will also be able to see live streams on YouTube.com just as you can now with YouTube’s current live broadcasts.
It’s not clear when YouTube Connect will debut, but VentureBeat figures it will happen before Google I/O in mid-May. Like other live-streaming apps, YouTube Connect will reportedly allow you to store broadcasts on your phone. It’s unclear if you can also keep broadcasts online for archival playback but given the nature of YouTube that seems likely.
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.
The only alternative would be to place live broadcasts on the recommended pages of people browsing YouTube or for YouTube Connect to send push notifications to channel subscribers. If the latter winds up being the case, that could suggest YouTube Connect will be restricted to notable YouTube personalities with large followings at first, similar to Facebook Live’s early days. That’s just speculation, however.
Why this matters: YouTube is the top video platform right now, but Facebook’s audience for video is right behind Google, according to ComScore’s U.S. desktop online video rankings for February. Twitter is also gaining ground, sitting in tenth place in the U.S. YouTube can’t afford to risk sitting still and let Facebook and Twitter move in on a potentially popular mode of user-generated video. Even if YouTube Connect never shows up, YouTube is likely to get into mobile live streaming at some point—especially now that Facebook is there.