Facebook continues to add new features to Live Video, on Wednesdays rolling out an interactive map to users around the world.
Here you can peer into the lives of some of Facebook’s global community of 1.65 billion users. But don’t expect too much – a random look through feeds late Wednesday showed a guy staring blankly at his smartphone camera, a shaky POV of a motorcycle journey, a person buttering toast, and a guy in a youth hostel eating noodles. Oh, and there was a cat writhing around on the floor, too. The streams each had around 20 viewers.
Facebook’s new web feature works in much the same way as the mobile map offered by Periscope, the company’s main rival in the live-streaming game. Blue dots indicate the location of a stream, and hovering your mouse over it connects you to the feed. Click on it and the picture expands, and, like Periscope, signed in users can post comments, viewable alongside the stream.
A list to the left of the map provides fast access to broadcasts that have gone viral – as you might expect, these are mostly from TV stations, though a few individuals listed as “public figures” are also garnering some attention.
When you click on some of the dots, you’ll notice lines spreading out from the streamer’s location. These point to where current viewers are located around the world, though maybe Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will look at them as an indicator of how well he’s succeeding in his quest to connect everyone on the planet.
Live Video’s interactive map should certainly boost traffic for the service, as before the only way you’d know if a user was broadcasting live was via a notification, meaning you had to already be following them. Now, so long as a user’s streams are open to all and not restricted to a specific group, you can drop in on people – and cats– everywhere to see what they’re up to.
The new feature is one of many being rolled out for Live Video as the social networking giant battles with Twitter-owned Periscope for live-streaming supremacy.
Facebook knows there’s money to be made here – users reportedly watch live broadcasts for three times longer than recorded video, and post 10 times more comments. The company is working to enter revenue-sharing agreements with its paid Live partners, a move that should guarantee big payouts for both parties once Live Video firmly establishes itself.