In an interesting move amidst all the Micro-Hoo brouhaha, Yahoo! minutes ago unveiled LIVE, a service that lets you broadcast live online using your webcam and watch the other live channels. The service joins a growing and competitive market of Ustream.tv, Justin.tv, Operator11, Mogulus, Stickam, and BlogTV.
As people familiar with any of the competitive services will know, there isn’t a whole lot to online video broadcasting other than having a webcam, Flash player and perhaps some talent. In what seems like a fairly intuitive and well designed interface, users can click “Go Live”, choose their live.yahoo.com URL, and be broadcasting with a webcam within seconds. The homepage displays a list of recently live and popular channels for viewers to navigate through.
Something that makes the service stand out from its competitors is that up to 5 people can all be broadcasting on one page — a conversational aspect that is mostly overlooked. A live chat feature, like most other broadcasting services, is also present and gives viewers the ability to have behind-the-scenes conversations. What’s more, the viewer is able to modify the font/colour of the chat box.
Keeping in accordance with Yahoo!’s standard level openness to the world and developers, the service also comes with an API letting you query the streaming services to find out the current broadcasters and information about the people viewing them. As part of the API, the service also has a Twitter feed users can follow and which alerts them when their favorite broadcaster starts broadcasting.
Overall, the service is a great combination of a good UI, feature set, and taking the best of all worlds — namely Ustream, BlogTV, and Justin.tv. Whether it’ll be able to capture anything other than the 5-viewer audience? We’ll have to see.
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