Facebook tests live video-streaming for the masses

The social network is letting a small percentage of iPhone users share video on their news feeds of events in real time.

Facebook's live video-streaming isn't just for the rich and famous anymore.

The social network said Thursday it has begun testing Live Video, a feature that lets people share video of events as they unfold in real time. It is an extension of the Live feature that Facebook began offering to celebrities and public figures in August and lets people choose who can watch and tells them who is tuning in.

"Live lets you show the people you care about what you're seeing in real time -- whether you're visiting a new place, cooking your favorite recipe, or just want to share some thoughts," Vadim Lavrusik and Thai Tran, product managers at Facebook, said in a blog post.

Live Video lets Facebook users share events as they unfold.


Facebook is testing the Live Video feature on a small percentage of Apple iPhone users in the US. Facebook representatives said they hope to bring the feature to Android, Google's mobile operating system, early next year.

Facebook, with about 1.5 billion users worldwide, has become one of the Web's most popular sites for watching video. People view more than 8 billion videos a day on Facebook, according to the Menlo Park, California-based company.

Even better for Facebook is that at least 75 percent of its video views take place on advertisers' preferred platform: mobile devices. A recent survey found 9 out of 10 US advertising executives said they plan to run a video ad on Facebook this year, beating out YouTube and Twitter, among others.

Making it easier to share personal videos is one of many ways that Facebook is trying to keep users glued to its site. The new move also ratchets up the social network's competition with the live-video apps that have popped up over the past year.


Meerkat, which lets people live-broadcast videos from their phones, launched in February and gained popularity during the South by Southwest festival in Texas the following month. Around the same time, Twitter introduced its own live-video app, Periscope, which the Wall Street Journal said was purchased for $100 million.

On Thursday, Facebook also introduced a feature that groups photos and videos captured around the same time to create a moving collage. The Collage feature, which allows people to edit the images and videos, will begin rolling out to Android and iPhone devices on Thursday.

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