Facebook confirmed in a blog post today that Android users are finally getting the live-video feature. The initial rollout however will only be available to U.S.-based users and will start launching next week.
Users from countries that are not the U.S. – don’t despair. Facebook said the feature will be made available to more countries soon.
Live-video is Facebook’s response to similar services with the same offering, such as Twitter-owned Periscope and startup Meerkat, which is based on Facebook’s API but was kicked off Twitter’s platform.
Starting a live-stream – which is possible by clicking on the button at the top of the Facebook mobile app – allows users to share whatever they’re doing with their friends, followers or other people on Facebook.
Last summer was the first time Facebook introduces us to the feature, but back then, only celebrities had access. In January this year, the social network decided to make it available for all US users of its iOS app.
According to a statement from today, iOS users in more than 30 countries are now able to live broadcast their events and activities. And considering its 1.5 billion monthly active users, Facebook’s new feature has allowed the company to take its fair share of the live-video industry.
A lot of mobile video startups would die for such an opportunity, but just because Facebook launched it, doesn’t mean it will be an instant success. At the same time, if the feature flops, Facebook’s reputation will hardly be dented, since the social network is known for so many things.
On the other hand, Facebook might not be the best social network for breaking news or instantaneous events – Twitter’s Periscope already does that pretty well. The “Live” feature on Facebook requires friends or followers to quickly join the stream, otherwise it’s not fun or effective.
With that being said, Facebook definitely has the attention of all the celebrities who matter and they use the platform to connect to their millions of fans across the globe. So there’s huge potential here, even if the live feature will gain even more traction only among better know people.
Some celebrities, including comedian Ricky Gervais, have already praised the live-video feature for giving them a chance to interact directly with fans and other audiences “without the filter or agenda of the media.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is also an avid user of the service, especially during his talks and various debates – if he’s not going to promote it, then who?
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