YouTube rolls out a new feature that lets you ‘go live’ from the desktop without an encoder

YouTube today is rolling out a new feature that will allow video creators to start a live stream from their web cam without downloading encoding software, which can be complicated to set up. Now, streamers will be able to click the “Go Live” button in the YouTube header to start the stream, or visit the URL No additional configuration will be required, the company says.

The feature currently works only on the Google Chrome browser, but will expand to other browsers in time.

Before today, YouTube users would have to use encoding software to capture content – including their desktop, camera, and microphone – and send it to YouTube to be live streamed.

The new feature is meant to make the process of live streaming from the desktop easier and quicker, which could potentially enable more YouTube users to take advantage of the functionality.

YouTube has already been testing an early version of the software with a handful of creators, including RawBeautyKristi, who used it for a beauty tutorial, saying, “normally, you have to do this encoder bulls*t…this is so much easier this way. I feel like I’ll live stream way more with this.”

Curtiss King TV used it for fan updates, and Kens Kreations tested it out for product reviews.

Today, Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr announced the news of the feature on his YouTube channel.

The addition comes at a time when the live streaming market is heating up, with competitors like Twitch for game streams, Twitter’s Periscope, and Facebook Live, all vying for a piece of the action. Facebook, in particular, has been targeting the creator community, including with this week’s launch of a Patreon clone for subscription patronage, and other ways to allow creators to make money.

YouTube says that the new web cam feature is only one of several ways it’s planning to make it easier for creators to go live in the future.

The company has also scored deals with several device manufacturers including Asus, LG, Motorola, Nokia and Samsung who will add a live stream feature directly in their camera apps on select upcoming devices in the months ahead. The feature, which takes advantage of the new YouTube Mobile Live deep link, is expected to come to other devices throughout the year, says YouTube.