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YouTube opens up live streaming to all verified accounts

Accounts in good standing with the video-sharing site can now begin live video streaming, regardless of their number of followers.

YouTube is turning up the volume on live streaming, allowing anyone with a verified YouTube account in good standing to stream live video to the Web.

The expansion includes the ability to launch a Google+ Hangout on Air directly from the YouTube Live events manager, allowing easier access to followers on the Web giant's social network, YouTube said Thursday.

"This gives you a simple way to reach your fans live and is the ideal way to invite participants to join your show," wrote Satyajeet Salgar, product manager, and Tim James, software engineer, in their company blog post.

Users can check their access status by visiting their YouTube account feature page or by waiting for the Live Events option to appear in their Video Manager menu. The expansion is expected to roll out during the next few weeks, the pair wrote.

YouTube began its efforts in live streaming in 2011 with the launch of YouTube Live, but it was originally limited to certain YouTube partners and accounts. Access was granted to only a small number of accounts in specific channels, such as music, sports, news, and gaming. Accounts also had to have at least 1,000 followers before that requirement was relaxed to 100 in August.

The move will increase the competitive pressure on a handful of other companies that offer the feature to both consumers and businesses, such as Ustream, Brightcove, and Livestream.