There is a huge amount of content on YouTube, and an increasing proportion of it is represented by live streams. While it’s often possible to catch up on a live stream after it’s finished, that means missing out on the excitement and sense of community that comes from watching a live event at the same time as watching a live event. ‘others.
With that in mind, YouTube makes it easy to locate live streams. Borrowing an idea already used by both TikTok and Instagram, YouTube is making a change to avatars to clearly indicate when a channel is live.
The change means that when a channel is live streaming, a ring will be displayed around their avatar as a clear and obvious indicator. More than that, if you click on the avatar, you’ll be taken directly to the live stream rather than the creator’s profile.
Ring, ring, ring
YouTube product manager Neal Mohan shared news of the change in a tweet:
Truly targeted, making it easier for users to find live streams on @YouTube, so we’re rolling out the Live Rings feature to mobile! The @YouTubeCreators live stream will now have a ring around the channel avatar and clicking on the avatar will take you directly to the live stream. pic.twitter.com/QylUbpktumFebruary 18, 2022
Analysis: what about desktop users?
There’s no mention of desktop users at this time, and it’s unclear if the feature will migrate from mobile or not.
So, will it make it easier to find live streams? The answer really depends on how you use YouTube. People who are avid followers of a channel will likely be aware of upcoming live streams and will have set up a reminder to make sure they don’t miss anything. For the casual browser looking for comedy-based YouTube videos, that’s unlikely to make much of a difference.
Some replies to Mohan’s tweet also question the value of the change, but no new feature will ever delight everyone in the same way.
For anyone who wants to search for live broadcasts rather than pre-recorded videos, this provides another quick and easy way to differentiate themselves from each other. It might not be a change that’s generating a massive level of excitement from YouTube users, but it’s a nice touch that brings the service in line with other video platforms.