YouTube is adding a live streaming option to its mobile app, the company announced today, a new feature that will allow users to broadcast live video from their mobile devices with the touch of a button. The company’s mobile streaming interface looks markedly similar to Periscope’s, with viewer comments scrolling up the screen over the broadcast, but YouTube says its existing infrastructure gives it an advantage over competitors, with streamers and their viewers able to search live broadcasts just as they can search recorded videos.
The introduction of the new feature comes a day after live-streaming competitor Periscope had a moment in the sun. The Twitter-owned app was used to document a sit-in at the US House of Representatives after Republicans adjourned a session on gun control laws, a powerful use of the technology that showed something TV cameras couldn’t. Facebook, too, is investing heavily in live-streamed video, paying celebrities and publishers to produce live broadcasts that appear in user newsfeeds.
Even with this competition, YouTube says that that in addition to providing better protection from unauthorized use, its live streams will also be “faster and more reliable than anything else out there.” But for now, YouTube hasn’t given a date for the feature’s arrival, promising only that it will be available to general users “soon.” In the meantime, only a handful of big-name channels will be able to broadcast live from their YouTube apps, including political news show The Young Turks and vlogger Alex Wassabi.
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