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Android Headliner: How Will YouTube Connect Change Livestreaming?

April 1, 2016 - Written By Justin Diaz

Livestreaming on mobile devices is in no way unpopular, but it isn’t as big as it could be, and there’s a chance that Google’s rumored livestreaming app that’s set to launch in the future, called YouTube Connect, could change the landscape. YouTube Connect is said to be in the same realm of Periscope and Meerkat, competing for territory and user numbers in a market that is still very new and growing. YouTube already has a tiny foothold in livestreaming capabilities with the help of the YouTube Creator Studio tool, and within YouTube Gaming if you’re looking to livestream your game sessions for others to watch. This limited capability though locks out a large number of potential users when compared to the capabilities of competitor Periscope, which had around 10 million users as of the middle of last August, 2 million of which were active on a daily basis. How will YouTube Connect change the live stream landscape on mobile devices? It’s tough to say at this point really, as the service is still just a rumor and is “currently under development.” Along with the rumor about its existence though, is a statement that it will have a robust offering of features that bring it up to scale with the bigger services that are already available to users.

One of those features is said to be a chat capability, a function that is readily available on Periscope which allows users who are viewing content to interact with broadcasters as the stream is happening. This sort of interaction is a feature that will be a must if Google wants YouTube Connect to be able to compete in the space. While viewers will be able to chat with broadcasters, those who are livestreaming are rumored to have the ability to chat back, although it’s a little tough to envision how that might work if someone is trying to type back a message in chat without causing any sort of interruption to their broadcast, then again, this is also something which already available through YouTube as streamers have a live chat option they can enable or disable for during broadcasts. These are of course speculative features for a still speculative app without any confirmation from Google on what will be available. When and if YouTube Connect launches however, YouTube not only has the opportunity to grab some of Periscope’s user base, but they also have a large number of users of their own for YouTube who will likely be able to jump right into using YouTube Connect without having to put in much effort, other than logging in for the first time. With YouTube’s 1 billion users and counting, that’s a huge chunk of marketshare that is ripe for the taking.

YouTube user numbers

As the service would be based on a Google account, users should immediately be ready to install a YouTube Connect application and sign in with the Google account they may already have for YouTube, Gmail, and other Google services. These users may already have a Periscope account and may not want to go through the hassle of switching services of course, but since YouTube Connect would be tied to Google and likely YouTube itself, any livestreams would have the potential to effortlessly upload to a user’s channel on YouTube, and this kind of seamless interaction between the two services could make it really simple for anyone to livestream and post those livestreams for playback, making them available for people to watch on YouTube who may not have the time to watch a livestream as it’s happening but may want to follow that particular content creator. There’s also the fact that many YouTube users aren’t active on Periscope. Having an application like YouTube Connect available would presumably be much easier to get into since it’s already tied to a Google account. If this is the case, any YouTube users, however many hundreds of millions there likely are which don’t already use a livestreaming service, just might join up with YouTube Connect as it would be part of Google’s sort of all-inclusive package of one Google account for nearly all of their services, which would have the potential to really help push the livestreaming market even further. Periscope has at least 10 million users while YouTube has over a billion users. That’s a huge untapped well of potential as Periscope only has about one percent of the users of YouTube, leaving a large number of people open that Google could snatch up with YouTube Connect.

Although YouTube Connect should have easy integration with Google’s other services like YouTube and Google+, it’s also likely to gain support for sharing livestreams on other social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, although it reportedly doesn’t currently have integration with those outside social networks in its current stage of development. With YouTube Connect having integration with multiple social networks though, as it should if Google really wants to reach the largest number of users possible, YouTube Connect users would be able to share their content with virtually anyone including those who may not use YouTube Connect or YouTube themselves. Aside from the average user, YouTube Connect would pose as a pretty big benefit for the top content creators on YouTube as well as top brands. Periscope for example has about 15% of the top brands that are on Twitter which actually use the service to livestream. It’s hard to quantify how many top brands that is without knowing how many top brands are actually on Twitter, but 15% doesn’t seem like a whole lot. This opens up another potential area for YouTube Connect. YouTube is arguably much larger than Twitter with many brands having their own channel for videos and ad spots, and YouTube Connect would simply be one more outlet for top brands to reach their customer base. Brands like Angry Birds, Coca-Cola, PlayStation, Red Bull, GoPro, and LEGO are all brands in the top 10 of the most popular brands on YouTube according to socialbakers. These are brands which could benefit from having an app like YouTube Connect to livestream from. Red Bull in particular, could stream events like the Flugtag and get plenty of viewers as not everyone that may want to see the event in person is able to make it to the location where it’s held.

YouTube brands

Major global brands are of course not the only ones who could benefit from a YouTube livestreaming application. Having an app like YouTube Connect would make for a push of innovation from competitors like Periscope, Facebook Live, and Meerkat. With the amount of experience that Google and YouTube have in video, they stand to bring some real change with plenty of compelling features to livestreaming that may not already be available from other services, and that can only help the livestreaming market as a whole. More options means more choice for consumers, which is of course a good thing, but it also means that Periscope, the current leader in the livestreaming space, would have to push themselves to improve their app to keep their own momentum going. That’s not to say that Periscope’s plans are anything but improvement, but with an app like YouTube Connect nipping at its heels, it would certainly help to drive things along a lot faster and make for a much more interesting set of offerings from all of the companies who are looking to grab up pieces of the pie in this particular industry. Livestreaming is still relatively new and has lots of room to grow, and with YouTube aiming to help it grow, there’s bound to be plenty of change in the landscape as well as a change to the already existing services that people are using.