Facebook Live given major revamp with dedicated video hub and Snapchat-like features

Facebook has given its real-time video streaming service, Facebook Live, a major overhaul, offering users a host of new features seemingly inspired by Snapchat.

A dedicated tab on the platform's mobile app to help users find streams has taken front-and-center place in the redesign, as the social giant ups the ante on video.

"People don’t want to miss out on great broadcasts that are live right now," said Fidji Simo, product management director in a blog post.

"So today, we’re starting to roll out a dedicated place on Facebook’s mobile app where you can discover live video that the world is talking about, live video from the friends and creators that matter most to you, and live video on topics you’re interested in," she added.

The video hub will allow viewers to search live and non-live videos, or choose to broadcast themselves.

For desktop users the site has debuted a Map product, which will let Live users in over 60 countries share and search for global broadcasts.

Drawing from competitor Snapchat, which is catching up on it in terms of video views, Facebook will now let creators "personalise" their live broadcasts via a palette they can use to doodle on their films and a selection of filters.

It has also integrated its recently-launched Reaction product into live broadcasts, along with comments that replay after a livestream is over – similar to Twitter's Periscope hearts which allow audiences to 'like' a video as its broadcast.

Previously, Facebook Live users were only able to share a stream to their whole feed, now they will be able to tailor who they share their streams with via Facebook groups and events. For example, if a users' friend is unable to attend their birthday celebrations but has been invited via Facebook, then the host could livestream the party and share it with them. They can also invite individual friends to watch clips with them.

Since Facebook launched Live last August, people have created more than 670,000 live streams which have clocked up over 12.6bn views, according video-intelligence software company Tubular Labs.

Social networks are increasingly investing in live broadcasting, particularly in the sporting arena; something Facebook has been slowly making inroads into of late.

Just yesterday Twitter revealed it has bought the rights to show a series of Thursday night NFL games, pipping heavyweights like Verizon, Amazon and Yahoo to the post.

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