YouTube expands live-streaming for desktop — and all you need is a webcam

YouTube is working to make it easier to go live from a desktop computer — and all you need is a webcam. On Tuesday, March 20, YouTube launched web browser live-streams, a tool that allows creatives to go live without the complexity of using an encoder. The new desktop feature comes with an announcement that native camera apps inside several smartphone devices will also soon have a shortcut for YouTube Live.

Now, YouTubers can just click on the camera icon on the top toolbar and select the live option, or navigate to youtube.com/webcam. The shortcut live-stream uses a webcam to capture the footage. YouTube says the new option makes it possible to go live in just a few clicks.

Like starting a live-stream from a mobile device, YouTube allows creatives to add a title and privacy settings, shoot a thumbnail, then start the live-stream. The usual live options, including live chat, are part of the webcam live-streaming option.

YouTubers could previously go live from a desktop computer, but the process required additional equipment and software. The tool is first launching to Chrome browsers, but Google says the feature will be expanding to additional browsers.

Desktop isn’t the only platform YouTube is working to make simpler to use. The video platform says a YouTube Live option will soon allow some smartphone users to stream directly from the native camera app. The first devices to get the feature will be from the Asus, LG, Motorola, Nokia, and Samsung brands.

The shortcut is made possible through the YouTube Mobile Live deep link, programming that allows third-party apps to add a button allowing users to initiate the live-stream from that app, not YouTube’s. YouTube says the feature will begin launching to select devices over the next few months, but added that the goal is to bring the option to more devices throughout the year.

The update continues expanding YouTube’s live options after geotags and Super Chats that can trigger a real-life reaction inside the stream launched last month. Earlier updates made the live-streams faster and lowered the number of followers users needed in order to access the tool.

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