Google reportedly is building a mobile live-streaming app similar to Twitter’s Periscope and Facebook’s Live feature. Called YouTube Connect, the app will allow users to broadcast video from their smartphones with their Google or YouTube accounts and subscribers can watch and chat, anonymous sources told VentureBeat.
Users can create and participate in live broadcasts, and then these videos can be replayed within the app. The videos can also be shown on the user’s YouTube account. There are no integrations with Facebook or Twitter, the report said.
Google’s entry into live video comes more than a year after Meerkat, a live-streaming app built by a startup, was released. That company has since pivoted the project due to the rise of Twitter’s Periscope, which was released in last March, and Facebook Live, which launched in August.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey have both publicly expressed strong interest in live-streaming. Zuckerberg said live-streaming is “one of the things I’m most excited about,” at a town hall in Berlin in February. Dorsey listed live video as one of his top five priorities in the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report in February.
As of late, Facebook’s watch numbers have impressed broadcasters. For example, tech and culture site Mashable broadcast eight videos for Facebook Live and garnered more than 2.3 million views earlier this month. Indeed, Facebook has an audience of 1.59 billion monthly active users while Twitter has stagnated at 320 million.
But YouTube also has a devoted audience, with its own celebrities like gamer PewDiePie and violinist Lindsey Stirling. Even though YouTube has offered its own live-streaming service through its Creator Studio, it is a limited system and some creators have taken to other apps. For example, the Merrell Twins, who have nearly 900,000 subscribers on YouTube, are using YouNow, another live-streaming app known for attracting a younger audience.
It is unclear when YouTube Connect will be released. Google is hosting its developer conference, Google I/O, May 18.