If you happen to be browsing your Facebook in a few hours (3pm PDT, 6pm EDT, 11pm GMT) you’ll probably notice a lot of hype about a new service called Facebook Live.
Facebook Live, according to Read Write Web, is a live video channel that will be used for official Facebook announcements and celebrity videos. It’s based upon the same live feed technology that has powered Facebook Connect and has features that look oddly similar to sites such as Vokle and Ustream.
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How similar? Both Ustream and Vokle have platforms that are tailor-made for providing announcement platforms. However, given Facebook’s control over the Facebook Live service, it’s unlikely that there will be much of an impact to either of these existing platforms.
We have reached out to both Ustream and Vokle for comment, and will let you know if we get a response. It is interesting to note, however, that Facebook Live is powered by Livefeed, which is a direct competitor to Ustream. (A tip of the hat going to Nick from All Facebook for pointing out that fact in the comments.)
The launch will happen with an announcement by America Ferrera about her new movie “The Dry Land”. Somewhat uneventful, but not a bad way to launch a new service.
Moving forward, Facebook intends to use the feature for live streaming of “announcements, press events, live chats with Facebook engineers and live streaming of its developer conference, F8”. While all of these are welcome additions, as we push deeper into an age of right-now media, it will remain to be seen how often or how well Facebook will use the service.
The service is already running, and you can head to the Facebook Live page to view a recorded stream. It will give you a feel for what Facebook is doing with the service. As an interesting side note, if you’re geeky enough to watch the pre-recorded feeds, there are some insights into what’s going on behind the scenes at Facebook.
Update – I just got an email from Vokle. Here is what they had to say:
Though this is a proactive move for livestream, which is powering the live service, there are a certainly suspect similarities to what we’ve been doing since our launch; particularly the “ask a question” and screening features.
However, the scope of what we’re looking to achieve is via many-to-many video interactions and actual dialogue. Our central purpose is to humanize the web and make it a warmer, more personal place – something that appears to be philosophically lacking in this latest alliance.
Nonetheless, it’s an exciting time to be in the live streaming space, and we all look forward to changing the landscape of how people communicate online.