As apps like Periscope, Meerkat and Snapchat grow in popularity and big players like Facebook jump on the mobile livestreaming bandwagon, YouTube is beginning to feel the heat. Google’s uber-popular video service has a very limited livestreaming function built into the YouTube Creator Studio app, but it’s not quite as feature-rich or user-friendly enough to compete with the bigger names in the space. As one of the largest repositories of user-created video in the world, YouTube’s lack of an equivalent livestreaming feature seems like a missed opportunity. Google is reportedly looking to change that and dive headfirst into the livestreaming game, however, with a new app called YouTube Connect.
According to an insider who spoke to VentureBeat, the app is currently in development and will boast a feature set that should be enough to bring it up to par with rivals who have been on the mobile livestreaming scene from the beginning. Some of the features will include chat capabilities while streaming or while watching streams, the ability to tag people in streams and a feed that keeps users updated about the activities of friends and subscriptions. Video streams and saved videos from the app will be viewable both in-app and on the YouTube desktop website. The report didn’t mention if live streams using the new app would be viewable with the existing YouTube app, though it’s quite likely they will be, since they’re available on the desktop site. Google could keep the video streams exclusively on the new app in order to encourage downloading it, but there has been no word either way.
The app is still in the fairly early phases of development; according to the source that spoke to VentureBeat, sharing functionality for Facebook and Twitter has yet to be added. The app is being developed for Android and iOS at the moment, with no mention of a possible release on other platforms for the time being. The insider didn’t mention a particular release date or any kind of beta testing or internal testing, but with Google’s annual I/O conference coming up in May, the app might just get a mention.