Updates to Periscope and Facebook Live bring longer videos, full-screen mode and more

Within a few hours of each other, two big names in the world of live video streaming from mobile devices unveiled a host of new features.

Facebook first of all announced that its Live service was to get several widely awaited functions, such as a full-screen mode and video playback in landscape or portrait mode on a mobile device (Android and iOS). What’s more, users can now stream live video for up to four hours, doubling the previous limit. It will also be possible to hide the various comments and reactions of other web users. The new functions are currently being rolled out and should be available worldwide this summer.

Periscope announced an update to its mobile application bringing autoplay to videos on Android devices. Periscope’s integration into Twitter feeds, already seen in iOS, will be rolled out to all other platforms (Android, PC, Mac, etc.). Plus, the update will make it easier to search for interesting videos thanks to automatically generated “highlights,” giving users a taste of what to expect from videos that can sometimes be over an hour long. This should boost video replays, encouraging users to watch back selected videos after their initial broadcast.

Periscope was launched by Twitter in March 2015. In one year, over 100 million videos were broadcast by its users. At the beginning of 2016, Facebook launched a heavyweight rival to Periscope with Facebook Live, a near-identical service buoyed by almost 1.5 billion potential users.

Note that both services are facing tough competition from YouTube. After allowing users to share live content from a computer for several years, the site has now extended its service to include mobile devices running its official application.