Today Facebook launches its full assault on YouTube with a dedicated hub for watching Live and recorded videos in its mobile app. A Video tab is taking over Messenger’s prime, center spot in the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen, turning Facebook into a destination for discovering videos catergorized by topic beyond stumbling across them in the feed.
In a blog post, product management director Fidji Simo described Facebook Live as a tool to “share a moment instantly with the people you care about. This means your friends, family, or fans can be there with you, and you can respond to their comments and see their reactions.” This has been possible over the past eight months, but broadcasting was limited to the audience based off of a user’s Facebook’s privacy settings: public, friends, or any other subset.
Among the new features: Viewers can click on Facebook’s gamut of new “reactions” — emojis for Like, Love, Wow and other emotions — at any point during a live stream. (It feels a bit like a focus group tool.) And if you’re the one doing the live streaming, you’ll be able to add filters to the video, like monochrome or sepia tones.
Facebook’s new features are designed to help people feel more in the moment. When you replay a video that’s ended, you can also replay the comments, which pop up as they did during the live broadcast. Facebook also lets you invite friends to watch live videos with you and has created a section to help you discover new videos.
Feeling artistic? Facebook teased an upcoming feature that will let you doodle on your live videos a la Snapchat. The company has been desperately trying to evoke Snapchat because the latter is so popular with teens and young adults. The feature isn’t ready yet, but Facebook said it’s “coming soon.”
The social network has been pouring big bucks into Live, and it has reportedly been trying to court celebrities by offering them money to use it. The biggest sign of its importance to Facebook: COO Sheryl Sandberg, a celebrity herself, is apparently leading the recruiting effort.