YouTube is bringing its live broadcasting capabilities to the world of third-party app developers starting today with the launch of the new open source project called “YouTube WatchMe for Android.” The project, available on GitHub, offers a reference app designed for the Android operating system that creates a YouTube Live Streaming Event. The app also introduces a simple interface allowing an end user to press a button to start broadcasting from their phone to YouTube, and another button to end the event.
Obviously, the app included on GitHub is just reference material — the real goal is to offer a toolkit for developers who want to add a similar capability to their own apps . This could be for apps that already focus on sharing video, and now want to offer a “Live” component, or it could be a function within a broader news or event-focused application, perhaps.
In addition to offering the ability to start and stop a live streaming session with buttons, the app’s interface allows users to tap a thumbnail to kick off a live broadcast session, from the looks of things, as well as “+1” the event – meaning recommend the broadcast on Google’s social network, Google+.
The new app takes advantage of several APIs, including the YouTube Data API v3, YouTube Live Streaming API, Google Play Services and Plus API, says the company in a blog post announcing the new project on the YouTube API Blog. To get started, developers have to sync with the Github repo, then utilize the Google Developer Console to enable the YouTube Data API and the Google+ API, and create a client ID for Android.
The company says the app being offered today is still in the experimental phase.
YouTube, of course, already offers live streaming functionality, which allows event creators to capture and share live video using either custom encoders and controls, or, for something simpler, users can opt to live stream a Google Hangout using their webcam. However, the YouTube “WatchMe” project is designed for mobile app developer use — starting, stopping, viewing and sharing live events from an Android app interface.
The technology being offered here to third-party developers is the same live broadcasting functionality that has previously been available to OEMs, including Xperia with its “Live on YouTube” app and “Re” by HTC, says YouTube. The latter involves a handheld camera and accompanying app that’s used to view and share the videos the camera records — videos that can be instantly streamed when you push the button. That means this new project would also work for others in the market who want to build or augment their own mobile apps associated with hardware devices like cameras and video recorders.