Facebook Live is coming to the desktop

Posted Sep 15, 2016 by James Walker
Facebook has confirmed it is beginning the roll-out of its personal livestreaming service, Facebook Live, on desktop-based devices. A small number of users now have access to the feature. It allows you to broadcast videos using your PC's webcam.
Facebook Live for Android
Facebook Live for Android
Facebook Live has been available on mobile platforms for several months. Intended to be a rival to services such as Twitch and Twitter-owned Periscope, Facebook Live makes it easy to livestream video of yourself to friends, family and the public. Viewers can comment on the stream and engage with it using Facebook Reactions. When you finish the broadcast, you can optionally save a video of it to your Timeline.
Reports this week indicate that Live is no longer exclusive to mobile devices. Facebook confirmed to SocialTimes that it is beginning a staggered rollout of the service on its main desktop site. It will allow PC and Mac users to stream from their desktop, letting you put down your phone and stream while working at a computer.
Once enabled, the option to start a broadcast appears above the main status entry box on the Facebook homepage. It sits next to the "Photo/Video" button and is labelled "Live Video." Clicking it for the first time opens up a prompt that allows you to configure your microphone and camera for streaming. You can then begin your livestream, directly from your browser. It is compatible with embedded and peripheral webcams on desktop and laptop computers.
Facebook confirmed to SocialTimes that the feature is "starting to roll out" on its main site. The launch is said to be caused by demand from "journalists, vloggers and do-it-yourselfers," according to an unnamed source who contacted SocialTimes. It is currently available to a "small percentage" of users but will see a wider rollout to all customers over the next few months.
One of the first people to see the new button was Delilah Taylor. In a video posted this week, Taylor described what the feature looks like on desktop devices. Unlike in Facebook's mobile app, the broadcaster has access to a "comment bar." This allows the streamer to post their own comments, something not currently possible on iOS or Android. The desktop site also shows you how many people are currently watching and the duration of your recording.
Facebook Live is an important part of Facebook's strategy for future growth. As it steers itself towards becoming a video sharing platform, it is aggressively rivalling the likes of YouTube, Twitch and Twitter. The company is currently working on the ability for two people to simultaneously livestream from different locations, a feature not currently available on other networks. It is also believed to be developing a monetisation system that could make Live more attractive to existing YouTube stars.
In an interview earlier this year, Fidji Simo, the Facebook executive who runs Live, said that people watch a video for three times longer when it is broadcast live. Simo considers the service's differentiating factor to be the social network's existing user base of 1.5 billion people. "Having a large network like Facebook is really critical to growing Live video," Simo said to Fortune. By bringing Live to desktop users, Facebook can tap into an even larger potential audience.