In case there was any doubt left, Facebook is serving notice that it’s super-serious about its video platform, Facebook Live.
The company announced a set of new features to Facebook Live and, more importantly, says it’ll make Live one of the primary tabs in its mobile app — replacing the Messages icon. That Facebook would put Live video right alongside News Feed, Friend Requests and Notifications tells you how committed the company is to winning the live battle it’s fighting with Twitter/Periscope.
In addition to moving Facebook Live front and center in its app, the company is rolling out a number of new features and upgrades. Some are very similar to what Periscope users are familiar with, while others extend Facebook Live beyond what Periscope offers. Here’s a rundown of the new features:
Rather than having to broadcast to all Facebook friends, users will be able to stream live video into Facebook Groups and Events.
Facebook Live videos now include the same Reactions recently rolled out for posts earlier this year, giving viewers the ability to show how they feel about a video with one of Facebook’s reaction emoticons.
According to Facebook, the reactions will appear in real time and disappear quickly, giving broadcasters and viewers a sense of how people are reacting during different points of the video. “It’s like hearing the crowd applaud and cheer,” says Facebook.
Also, replays of Facebook Live videos will show comments as they happened during the live broadcast.
Another new feature is the addition of five new filters for live videos, making it possible for a broadcaster to doodle or draw on their live video as it’s being broadcast.
Facebook Live broadcasters can also send invites now by tapping on the newly added invite icon and selecting friends. (People invited to view a Facebook Live video will receive a push notification.)
Facebook announced two new map features for live video, as well — one for Facebook’s mobile app and another that is rolling out on desktop.
The Facebook Live Map for desktop is rolling out to 60 countries, making it possible to explore Facebook Live broadcasts happening in other parts of the world.
Facebook Live is also adding two new metrics: “Live Broadcast Audience” data to count the total number of watchers during a live broadcast and a “Viewers During Live Broadcast,” which is a visual representation that shows the number of viewers during different moments throughout a live broadcast.
The metrics are available in Page Insights, or they can be accessed from a user’s video library by clicking the live video and going to the new Live Broadcast Audience tab.