Not content to let Facebook and Periscope have all the fun, YouTube has announced that it will soon let users livestream directly from the online video giant's mobile app. YouTube hasn't said much about how this feature will differ from what the competition offers, but it doesn't need to — the simple fact that these live videos will be hosted on YouTube is enough to give Google a big edge in the ever-expanding world of streaming.
As with Facebook, YouTube mobile's live functionality will be baked right into the video platform's existing iOS and Android apps. Based on screenshots, it looks like you'll be able to make your videos public or private, as well as notify your subscribers every time you go live. Unlike on Facebook, YouTube will let you decide whether or not to allow chat in your videos — if you do, you'll see comments float up from the corner of the screen similar to what happens on Periscope.
While Facebook Live is still probably the easiest way to connect directly with your friends, YouTube may become the defining live video platform for those looking to become the next internet celebrity. Using the video service's live features could be an easy way to build up a YouTube channel — live YouTube videos typically get saved as soon as you're done streaming, and it's hard to imagine that being different on mobile.
YouTube may also entice mobile streaming savants with its sheer reach. People watch hundreds of millions of hours of YouTube a day, and while Facebook is limited to mobile and the web, YouTube videos can be viewed on streaming boxes, game consoles and just about any other entertainment-minded machine sitting in your living room.
There's also the issue of generating money. Facebook is reportedly exploring ad-based revenue options for live video, but there doesn't seem to be a clear way to make money streaming to the social media site right now. YouTube, on the other hand, has a partner program that allows creators to make some cash via ad revenue and optional items such as subscriptions and merchandise. You certainly won't get rich in a day on YouTube (and the site has dished out some absurd copyright claims), but at least there seems to be a path for those who want to make a few bucks off of their videos.
YouTube has offered live broadcasts since 2011, so the platform should be more than ready to handle the influx of mobile livestreams that will surely flood the service at launch. The new feature has arrived on a limited number of high-profile channels such as The Young Turks, AIB and Platica Polinesia, so you can see for yourself what YouTube's mobile streams will look like. The company says everyone else will get mobile streaming "soon," so it might not be long before your smartphone propels you to full-on YouTube stardom.