YouTube Antes Up on Facebook With 360-Degree Live Streaming Video

Google’s massive video site will start with this weekend’s Coachella music festival

Last Updated: April 18, 2016 @ 1:13 PM

YouTube is hitting back at Facebook’s splashy campaign trumpeting its live streaming and virtual-reality prowess: Google’s huge video site has launched support to live-stream 360-degree videos and added higher-tech audio that makes 360 and VR content feel more real.

YouTube and Facebook, the world’s biggest social network by users, have been locked in video brinkmanship for the last year, with the latter having quickly ramped up streaming by peppering news feeds with more clips and playing them automatically as users scroll past them. The moves have grown video viewing to 100 million hours a day on the social network.

YouTube’s announcements come after Facebook spent much of the last two weeks touting live-streaming activity on its platform and bragging about the popularity of a viral “Game of Thrones” 360-degree clip.

Today, YouTube said it’s introducing the ability to live-stream 360-degree video (as opposed to loading clips after they’ve been shot.) To mark the announcement, the company said it would stream the Coachella music festival live in 360 this weekend, after years of streaming parts of the fest via traditional video.

YouTube also said it’s introducing what’s known as “spatial audio” for on-demand YouTube videos. Spatial audio allows users to listen along as they do in real life, where depth, distance and intensity all play a role, the company said.

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