Over the past few weeks, all the talk has been about Facebook’s new Watch app. If we believe half of what we read, it will take on the likes of YouTube, Amazon Prime, Netflix and even traditional television and consign them all to the pages of history.
So much for the hyperbole, but beneath it, there are some relevant points that those involved in the above alternatives need to take onboard. Facebook has not become the dominant social media platform, with two billion members, by accident – key to its success has been a refusal to rest on its laurels and a strategy of constant development and evolution.
As the main competitor of the Facebook Watch app, YouTube has more to prove than most, and it has not been slow to react. Let’s take a look.
Ultra low latency
Currently, users can choose between normal and low latency settings when streaming a video. YouTube has now added the option of ultra low latency, which is designed to help those who want to directly interact with viewers during live streams.
The new ultra low latency feature will enable creators to stream video with latency as low as two seconds, meaning they can receive and respond to viewer input and questions in real time. The feature is easy to activate from a tab under the stream options.
Gaming and streaming
Another area that has been a focal point for YouTube’s competitors has been in the world of online gambling. The popularity of online casinos has never been bigger, and new ones are appearing every day in the UK and across Europe. Not only do gamers from around the world visit sites based in Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and other locations, there is also a growing trend in the online streaming of poker and other big casino games.
This is an area where rival Twitch TV has really cornered the market so far, becoming the go-to platform for pastimes such as online poker tournaments and eSport events. Facebook Watch has already indicated that it aims to enter this market, and YouTube will not be far behind.
Better chat moderation
One of the things that really gets users down about YouTube is the unwieldy threads of comments that seemingly attach to every video. Owner Google is attempting to address this perennial issue by the introduction of new tools to enable improved moderation of chat and comments.
The new functions include inline moderation and message on hold for reviews. With inline moderation, the creator can monitor the chat feed, then hover over specific messages to either approve or remove them. The other new feature means that YouTube can now hold messages from being posted on the stream pending review and approval by the creator. The system uses machine learning techniques to “understand” what sort of messages the creator is likely to wish to hold for review in future.
Is it enough?
In an increasingly competitive online video marketplace, will steps like these be enough to keep YouTube on top? Time will tell, but one thing is certain – being part of the Google portfolio means those on top will not be willing to settle for second best.