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article imageGoogle to join the livestreaming space with YouTube-branded app

By James Walker     Mar 24, 2016 in Technology
Google is reportedly building its own livestreaming app for iOS and Android devices. The service will be branded as YouTube Connect and is designed to rival services including Twitter's Periscope and Facebook Live as livestreaming gains in popularity.
Google has been working on the project for some time, according to a report from VentureBeat this week. The service will be a central livestreaming platform for Google, allowing users to capture video with their phone and stream it directly to YouTube.
Streams will be accessible from the main YouTube website and mobile apps. A customised news feed will highlight content made by friends and popular YouTube channels. After livestreaming is complete, an option will be available to upload it as a stored broadcast so viewers can watch it again in the future.
Google hasn't publicly commented on the rumours. A dedicated livestreaming app could allow it to increase YouTube's influence in an area it has slipped behind in. Google sees YouTube as the central website for all video on the Internet but currently doesn't allow general users to make livestreams from mobile devices. The YouTube website does support livestreams in a limited capacity, displaying streams in the subscriptions feed alongside normal videos.
YouTube Connect will inevitably rival Twitter's Periscope, Facebook Live and Meerkat. Earlier this year, Facebook expanded Live to include Android users for the first time, bringing livestreaming to Google's own mobile platform. A new YouTube app could allow Google to reclaim its stake in the livestreaming space.
The company already has several standalone YouTube services that operate largely independently of the main app and website. YouTube Gaming is a dedicated portal for gamers to watch others tackle their favourite titles, including while live, and YouTube Music makes it easier to find and listen to music videos.
YouTube Connect will face the same challenges that existing socially oriented livestreaming apps have experienced. To be successful, a person who creates livestreams needs to be surrounded by a group of friends who actually want to watch the content. The entire concept is based around people being interested enough in each other to want to spectate on somebody else's life.
There are concerns that the current buzz around livestreaming services may soon die away, leading people to view them as a novelty with little practical value. According to VentureBeat, Google's current app doesn't let users share content to Facebook or Twitter, a weakness that will make it harder to expose content to friends who aren't on YouTube.
Google hasn't confirmed the existence of YouTube Connect so the rumours should be taken with a word of caution at this stage. The company has its annual I/O developer conference scheduled in May though, an event that could be used to officially announce the new app.
More about Google, YouTube, Live stream, App, Service
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