YouTube has featured live-streaming on its desktop site since 2011, but the company is finally ready to take on Facebook Live by bringing the feature to smartphones.
You won’t be able to broadcast to the world yet, though — the feature is going live for YouTube creators with more than 10,000 subscribers first. It will roll out to everyone “soon.” YouTube announced the feature was heading to mobile last summer at VidCon.
The good news is that you don’t need to download a separate app to go live — it’s built right into the YouTube app. The Live button will sit at the top of the app, and once you tap it you can write a title, take a picture for the thumbnail, and start streaming.
“Streamed videos will have all the same features as regular YouTube videos,” the company writes in a blog post. “They can be searched for, found via recommendations or playlists, and protected from unauthorized use. Our mobile live-streaming uses YouTube’s rock-solid infrastructure, meaning it’ll be fast and reliable, just the YouTube you know and love.”
YouTube says it worked with creators to refine the experience — for example, live chat is slowed down when a stream is getting a high number of messages in a short span of time. There’s also Super Chat, which allows viewers to pin highlighted messages briefly to get the streamer’s attention for up to five hours — this is a paid feature, and the more you pay the longer your message stays at the top of the chat.
The live-stream’s user interface isn’t too different from Periscope, but the feature finally puts Google and YouTube toe-to-toe with Facebook and Twitter. Again, it’s only rolling out to creators right now but we’ll keep you updated when there’s a wider release.