At the annual F8 developer conference today, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company would be releasing an API for its live-streaming video feature. This will allow developers to build live Facebook video right into their apps. To demonstrate, Facebook showed off a DJI drone, live-streaming an aerial shot of Zuckerberg directly to the social network. It briefly hovered onstage next to the social network’s founder and chief, who waved nervously before wishing the aerial robot goodbye.
At the company’s F8 developer conference, Zuckerberg made it a point to tout how important live video was to Facebook and the extension into third-party apps and platforms highlights this. “We’ve been inspired by the innovation we’ve seen so far, and we know it’s only the beginning,” wrote product manager Daniel Danker in a blog post.
Introduced in August, Facebook Live is the social networking company’s response to Meerkat and Periscope. The company has said that it places a premium on video content and thinks that its livestreaming tool will play a big role in its next growth phase. People from more than 60 countries have access to this service, which originally started out being available only to celebrities and VIPs.
Last week, Facebook released a slew of updates that allowed you to broadcast directly into Groups and Events, while also adding in Reactions, video filters, and new ways to discover other livestreams. It has also been prioritized to show higher not only within your News Feed, but also within trending topics.
Opening up access to its livestream product will likely give Facebook an additional edge as the live video space becomes more heated. The company is competing against Twitter’s Periscope, which announced its users broadcasted more than 200 million streams in its first year, and also the soon-to-be-released YouTube Connect app from Google. By bringing Facebook Live to areas outside of the social network really is a shot across its competitors’ bow.
By opening up the API, Facebook seems intent on encouraging as many people as possible to use Facebook Live. Though it’s been rumored that the company would introduce fancy new features such as editing software to encourage media companies to use the platform, the keynote didn’t go beyond the API news. However, we still have two full days of the conference to get through, so those announcements could come at a later time.