If you had no idea you could broadcast live video on Facebook, join the club! Me either. Although it's quite possible our cluelessness stems from the fact this incredibly cool feature on the social networking site hasn't hitherto been available to Android users like myself. So I'm happy to announce Facebook Live Video for Android devices is on the way, meaning we can soon join in on all the live-streaming fun. It's only fair, right? Mark Zuckerberg clearly recognizes the need for device equity, too, since he just announced during a Q&A in Berlin that over the next week, Facebook will begin rolling out the ability for Android users to share live video like their iOS counterparts.
Testing for the Live Video feature first began back in August of 2015, when public figures such as Dwayne Johnson and Serena Williams were given carte blanche to create live broadcasts. Facebook users could watch these videos and comment on them, but weren't yet granted the ability to create their own. That came later — on Jan. 28, 2016, to be precise: The day Facebook Live Video was made available to all iPhone users in the United States in its entirety. Thus far, it's been a hit. "It has been inspiring to see all the ways that people have used Live to connect with their friends and family," Product Manager Vadim Lavrusik said in a statement.
So how does Facebook Live work exactly? Well, the handy function lets you share your experiences, thoughts, and anything else that strikes your fancy in real time. Studies show that on average people watch a Live video three times longer when it is actually live, meaning Facebook's Live Video feature offers a great platform for truly reaching your intended audience in the moment — whether that audience is composed of family and friends or a fan base.
As with most things, there are a few catches. First of all, Live Video for Android will only be available in the United States to start. Second, it's only available via the Facebook app. If you go searching for it on your desktop feed, you will not find it, my friends. But, bonus! Sharing Live video is super easy using your Facebook app. You simply tap "What's on your mind?" at the top of the News Feed and select the Live Video icon. During your broadcast, you'll be able to see the number of people viewing and the names of live viewers. You'll also be able to respond to a real-time stream of comments (very similar to Periscope, if you're familiar with that app). Once your wrap your broadcast, the Live Video will remain on your timeline — like any other video you post to your page — unless you choose to delete it or hide it.
If you're the trendsetter in your group, perhaps you'll notice an uptick in live videos on your feed. If you watch a live video you're particularly impressed with, you can tap the Subscribe button to be notified the next time that broadcaster goes live. Likewise, you can follow your favorite public figures to see what they have to say when they have to say it. And, in happy news for media companies, brands, and more, Facebook Live is now also available for verified Pages with a blue badge — perfect for breaking news updates, behind-the-scenes info, and important announcements.
So, what say you? Are you pumped about finally being able to use Facebook Live for Android?
Images: Giphy; Facebook Newsroom (2)