Facebook has launched a new Continuous Live Video API that enables developers to broadcast long and persistent streaming video to the world's largest social network.
In recent years, Facebook has become an online video powerhouse. Every day, more than 100m hours of video are uploaded to the service, and to capitalize on the livestreaming trend started by services like Meerkat and Periscope, Facebook earlier this year launched its own live streaming function dubbed Facebook Live.
Not surprisingly, Facebook, which claims one of the more popular developer ecosystems, quickly added a Facebook Live API that allows developers to integrate with Facebook Live programatically. Early adopters of the API included digital publishers like BuzzFeed, as well as hardware makers like drone manufacturer DJI, which are integrating the ability for device owners to easily stream content from their devices to the social network.
Previously, Facebook Live streams were limited to 90 minutes, but thanks to the new Continuous Live Video API, third parties can broadcast longer events, like special events, and create persistent streams that are ongoing. As Facebook's video chief Fidji Simo told TechCrunch's Josh Constine, "We’ve already seen some interesting use cases — for example, it was used by explore.org to power nature cameras" that allow viewers to monitor the outdoors and wildlife in real time.
Unlike standard Facebook Live streams, streams broadcast through the Continuous Live Video API can't be saved for replay later. In addition to this new API, Facebook has also added functionality to the Facebook Live API that lets developers restrict viewer access by location and age.
The new Continuous Live Video API and Live API access controls will help Facebook compete in the burgeoning live streaming space which is seeing rapid innovation. Companies like Ustream have added APIs to win business and just last month, YouTube introduced 360-degree live streaming and spatial audio at the Coachella music festival.