Google launches liveblog tool for Google I/O

I/O Live platform uses Google+ feeds to add running commentary to conference video streams. But it's really only half of a live-blogging tool, because it doesn't allow readers to comment.

Google I/O is getting its own slightly-configurable liveblog tool. Screenshot by Rafe Needleman/CNET

Google is looking to get news from its Google I/O conference out as broadly as it can. Company reps told me that "the magical feeling will be bigger and better" at the keynotes Wednesday and Thursday. And to make sure as many people as possible are encouraged to reflect that "magic" out onto the Web, the company is also rolling out a new, simple, embeddable liveblog tool that will also feature the live video streams from the conference.

The new tool, I/O Live, is dependent on Google+ for text input. What you post on your Google+ account is what shows in the widget; there's no other way to input text.

If you just want to show the keynote videos on your blog, you can turn off the Google+ liveblog component. However, you cannot turn off the video and just have the text.

The I/O Live tool is not, in fact, a proper, general-purpose liveblogging tool. The only video that it embeds is Google's on I/O streams. And there's no way for users watching your blog to comment back to you, as users can in a liveblog tool like Scribble Live (which we use at CNET) or CoverItLive.

What Google appears to be doing with this tool is trying to get users to talk about Google I/O on Google's own services. Rather than have users live-Tweet the keynotes, Google hopes that they'll live-blog them, and if they want to promote those liveblogs on Twitter or another service, fine.

This tool could, maybe, be a trial balloon into Google launching its own proper liveblog platform, to complement its blogging service. However, using a social platform like Google+ as an input system for a publishing product is rather strange. If Google does in fact launch a liveblog tool to exist alongside Blogger, I would hope for a more robust, focused authoring environment. Not everything deserves to be pressed through the Google+ sieve.

About the author

Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.


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