YouTube tests live video streaming
Google is testing live video streaming on YouTube, in a move that will challenge the likes of Livestream, UStream and Justin.tv.
The two-day trial, in association with a number of content partners, including Rocketboom and Young Hollywood, is aimed at testing YouTube’s ability to deliver consistent live streams, and to experiment with live comments, to which content providers can respond in real time.
The alpha testing, which starts today, is Google’s first step towards providing a full live-streaming service through its YouTube website.
Live streaming has been mooted for years, and YouTube has broadcast one-off events live, including U2’s concert at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, cricket from the Indian Premier League, and a State of the Union address from Barack Obama.
CitizenTube, a channel on the YouTube website dedicated to political discussion, has also regularly hosted live streams.
"This is just an initial trial, a first step," said Josh Siegel, a product manager at YouTube.
"We're going to look at a whole bunch of data about the performance of our new platform and then, based on that, make decisions about how we'll open it up, with the goal of opening it up to all of our partners over time."
However, industry experts believe any live-streaming service will be limited to professionally produced content provided by YouTube’s partners, rather than live videos uploaded by users.
“This isn’t surprising – there’s obviously a big infrastructure hurdle involved with streaming content from so many people,” said Jason Kincaid, a reporter with industry blog TechCrunch.
“But, more importantly, there’s also a greater risk that someone will stream a suicide, or something similarly awful.”
Google said that live streaming was “a natural evolution to online video” and added “an extra level of engagement” for YouTube’s audience.
YouTube is the biggest video-sharing site on the internet, with 24 hours of video uploaded to the site every minute, and an average of two billion views per day.