Facebook Live and Twitter's Periscope have become popular with users, and Google is reportedly about to break into the live streaming game.
Venture Beat reports that the tech giant is building a standalone live-streaming app called YouTube Connect that would function in a similar way to Facebook Live and Periscope. YouTube Connect would have chat and tagging features, as well as a news feed that displays videos from friends and brands to which a user has susbcribed.
This app would directly compete with Snapchat, Facebook Live, and Periscope and would not integrate with Facebook or Twitter.
It's no surprise that Google wants to get into live streaming. Publishers recently described to Digiday their successes with Facebook Live. Sky Sports pulled in 400,000 views on a live stream, while the BBC attracted 120,000 and BuzzFeed drew in 80,000. In a Facebook Townhall Q&A in Berlin last month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said live video is "one of the things I'm most excited about."
Periscope, meanwhile, has hosted more than 100 million broadcasts since its debut in March 2015. The app had more than 10 million registered users last summer and reportedly had more than 4 million daily active users in January.
Snapchat's Live Stories feature reportedly attracted 10 to 20 million viewers per day in January, and CEO Evan Spiegel called attention to the "instant" and "in the moment" aspects of Snapchat in a video last summer.
YouTube Connect is expected to debut with select VIP accounts. Google would rely on various YouTube celebrities to promote the live streaming product. PewDiePie, known for his Let's Play videos on YouTube, had 41.4 million subscribers by the end of 2015, and his videos average 3 million views within days after they are posted.
But there are challenges for YouTube Connect. For starters, the app is entering a space crowded with major players that have already established significant user bases.
Discoverability could also be an issue because YouTube users actively seek out the content they want, while Facebook and Twitter feed content directly to them. If YouTube Connect does not integrate with these social media channels, then it could exacerbate the discoverability problem.
YouTube Connect will be on the radar for the next several months. If and when it debuts, it would mark another change in the landscape of mobile video, which has been transforming in the last couple of years.