Today at 3 PM PST (6 EST), Facebook will unveil its new official live video streaming channel, Facebook Live. To kick off the launch, actress America Ferrera will stop by Facebook’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California and use Facebook Live to announce details of her new movie, “The Dry Land,” a Sundance Film Festival entry.
Facebook says that, in addition to special celebrity-oriented videos like today’s, the live video channel will also be used for official Facebook announcements, press events, live chats with Facebook engineers and live streaming of its developer conference, f8.
Live Video, Live Feed, Live Q&A
The new Facebook Live channel will incorporate Facebook’s real-time Live Feed technology to facilitate interactions between the viewing audience and the speaker. Facebook Live offers a feature similar to CNN Live’s use of Facebook Connect, which streams Facebook status updates in a sidebar to the right of the live video of a news event, most notably used for President Barack Obama’s inauguration.
The same Live Feed technology will also be in place within the new Channel, creating a “viral News Feed” story, says Facebook. Also included will be an “Ask a Question” feature, which lets viewers submit their questions to a moderator. We believe this latter aspect of the new service is brand-new and exclusive to Facebook, but we’re awaiting official confirmation on that.
We do know, however, that Facebook Live is the same technology Facebook used to stream the most recent f8 developer conference earlier this year – this is just the more formal launch of technology as an app.
Facebook Live: The App
Facebook Live will exist as an app that can be added to any Facebook Page, where it can stream live on multiple Pages simultaneously, a feature that allows Page operators (often businesses, brands and other commercially-minded users) to take advantage of the new channel to attract more fans.
When “special guests” stop by Facebook, like Hollywood celebs or musicians, for example, those running celebrity, TV, movie or music-focused Facebook Pages could use the app on their own Page to the benefit of their fans.
From the looks of the Facebook Live widget page (hosted by livestream.com), different types of embeds will be available, including the Player widget, the Video Library widget and the Chat widget. In addition to Facebook itself, users will also be able to share videos on Twitter, Google Buzz, MySpace, Delicious, Digg and via email with special sharing buttons. A shortened URL (http://livestre.am/xyz) will also be provided.
The videos streamed on Facebook Live will be archived and distributed as future reference materials, when appropriate, says Facebook.
This afternoon, America Ferrera will appear to talk about her movie, “The Dry Land,” which, in our opinion, is a rather uneventful way to kick off what’s a decidedly interesting new feature for the social network. We would have rather seen CEO Mark Zuckerberg, or even a Facebook employee, announce the news using the channel. But then again, we’re geeks, nerds, techies and engineers over here at ReadWriteWeb. The 500 million other Facebook users would probably rather see Ferrera.