Facebook Live is looking to tap its billion-plus user advantage and built-in social and group features to gain an edge on rivals like Periscope. As such, it has revealed live streaming within groups and events, real-time reactions, invitations to watch video with friends and a live map showing video in 60 countries. Later today, the social network will launch the service in LA (on Facebook Live, of course) with appearances by Mark Zuckerberg and product chief Chris Cox. If you've been using Live, Facebook will give you a heads-up as to when to tune in to the broadcasts.
The biggest and most logical feature is the ability to broadcast live within groups and events. If you're putting on a concert, race or charitable event, for example, it makes infinite sense to be able to stream key moments to a ready-made captive audience. The feature will let friends and family who are subscribed but can't make it in person can still experience the fun at a distance. Creators also get five new Instagram-like filters, and Facebook will soon let you doodle directly onto live video.
If you feel the need to express yourself without commenting, Facebook took a page from Periscope with live reactions for videos. As shown above, you can drop in one of the new emoticons (love, haha, wow, sad or angry) with each popping up on the screen in real time. In addition, if you can't catch a video live, you'll see comments and reactions pop up during the replay as if it were real-time.
On the discovery side, Facebook unveiled "Live Video Destinations" on mobile. That's a dedicated section where you can find popular streams and live video from friends or folks and topics you're interested in. It lets you search live and recorded videos and stream your own instantly with a "go live" button. Desktop users, meanwhile, get "Facebook Live Map," a button that helps you find live video in 60 countries around the world. If you want watch with a friend, every stream now gets an "invite" button, as well.
Facebook may have jumped late into live video well after rivals like YouTube, Periscope and Meerkat, but it's certainly a high priority now. The company pushes live video to the top of your feeds and notifies you about new streams, though you can now turn those off, thankfully. With product head Chris Cox and Zuck himself involved in the latest feature push, though, expect Facebook Live streams to become an even larger part of your feeds, like it or not. The features will roll out over the next few weeks.