Facebook’s livestreaming video feature, Live, is now available to everyone with an iPhone in the U.S. The Periscope-like service launched last August, but was previously only available for public figures and verified Pages.
“We plan to start rolling this out to the rest of the world over the coming weeks,” wrote product manager Vadim Lavrusik in a blog post. Android compatibility is also presumably coming soon.
Broadcasters can initiate a stream from their Update Status bars by clicking on a new Live Video icon that will prompt users to write a description of the event. They can also invite fellow Facebookers to come and watch. Streams can last a maximum of 30 minutes.
As streams transpire, broadcasters will be able to see the names of friends who are watching in real time. Viewers can also offer comments or subscribe to be notified when their favorite broadcasters go live again. After broadcasts are completed, says Facebook, they will live on users’ Timelines like any other video post.
Given Facebook’s growing dominance in the video realm, the rollout of Live could portend a serious threat to fellow streaming platforms such as Periscope and Meerkat. On an earnings call Wednesday, Facebook said that 500 million users now watch 100 million hours of video every day.