Google just announced the launch of its live video streaming platform for YouTube. Until now, live events on YouTube were generally one-offs and focused on concerts, major sporting events and special interviews. Now, however, YouTube will allow a select group of its partners to stream their content live. Currently playing live shows will be highlighted on a special page.
This is clearly meant to be a perk for YouTube’s partners, which include both professional and amateur content providers. Until now, these partners had to rely on platforms like Justin.tv or Ustream to stream their live content.
It is important to note that this new platform is not meant to allow all of YouTube’s users to stream their videos live. Indeed, even most of YouTube’s partners won’t have access to the platform yet. According to Google, only “certain YouTube partners with accounts in good standing” will get access to the platform now. The goal, though, is to provide “thousands of partners with the capability to live stream from their channels in the months ahead.”
As for the streams themselves, the experience so far is a bit underwhelming. The current crop of live streams seems to be capped at 360p (which looks anything but great) and the videos often stall and buffer. When Google first did a trial run of this platform with a very small group of partners a few months back, problems like this forced the company to postpone its plans for a wider release. It’s hard to say though if today’s problems are due to its partners not being fully up to speed in using the platform or if they are due to issues on Google’s side.