Is Google building a live-streaming YouTube app to take on Periscope?

YouTube
Charnsit Ramyarupa/123RF
Google has reportedly been working on a Periscope and Facebook Live competitor called YouTube Connect that’ll offer users a fast and easy way to do live broadcasts.

YouTube Connect would be a standalone cross-platform mobile app geared solely toward live-streaming, sources with knowledge of the project told Venture Beat this week.

While live-streams are already possible on YouTube via its Creator Studio product, or Google Hangouts if you want to go down that route, its main mobile app has no such functionality. A new product geared solely toward live videos would fit well with the streaming site’s core offering, and could appeal not only to casual YouTube users, but also content creators on the service as well as famous folks looking for another way to engage with fans.

YouTube Connect’s features will apparently mirror those found on competing services. For example, users will be able to immediately start live-streaming from their mobile device with a single tap, while viewers can hit their “news feed” to see the latest streams from friends and other users whose streams they’re following. Notifications for when a stream starts is also a given.

Incorporating YouTube’s broader platform could prove crucial to YouTube Connect’s success. With this in mind, it’s expected that live videos created with the app would then automatically appear on the streamer’s channel on the main YouTube site, bringing broadcasts repeat views and boosting user engagement with the streaming service.

Mobile live-streaming gained much attention last year during Periscope’s duke-out with rival service Meerkat. Periscope is owned by Twitter, and when Facebook Live joined the party earlier this year, Meerkat decided tussling with the giants wasn’t worth the effort and a few weeks ago announced it was to reorient itself as a video-based social network.

With Google’s backing and YouTube’s giant platform already firmly established, YouTube is well placed to go up against Periscope and Facebook Live. Certainly, if YouTube Connect does land, it should push all the competing services to up their game, resulting in more features and slicker app experiences for all users.

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