Face­book adds live au­dio streams to iOS, An­droid apps

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

Af­ter throw­ing its weight be­hind live video, Face­book is now ex­pand­ing to real-time au­dio stream­ing: The com­pany added the abil­ity to lis­ten to live au­dio broad­casts to its iOS and An­droid apps this week, and is now test­ing the for­mat with a group of se­lect pub­lish­ers in­clud­ing the BBC World Ser­vice and Harper Collins.

Users can find au­dio streams in their news feeds, and in­ter­act with broad­cast­ers via chat and re­ac­tions just like they would with a video stream. An­droid users will be able to con­tinue lis­ten­ing even af­ter they close the app, mak­ing it eas­ier to lis­ten on the go, while iOS users have to keep Face­book's app up and run­ning to stay tuned in.

Face­book prod­uct spe­cial­ist Shirley Ip and Face­book soft­ware en­gi­neer Bha­vana Rad­hakr­ish­nan said in a blog post Tues­day that the new for­mat was, in part, a re­sponse to broad­cast­ers al­ready us­ing Face­book's video stream­ing for au­dioonly pro­gram­ming. "We've even seen some Pages find cre­ative ways to go live and reach au­di­ences with au­dio only by us­ing the Face­book Live API or by adding a still im­age to ac­com­pany their au­dio broad­cast."

They also sug­gested that au­dio may help in sit­u­a­tions with slow in­ter­net ac­cess. "Live Au­dio presents an­other op­tion for con­nect­ing with au­di­ences in real time from low-con­nec­tiv­ity ar­eas," they said. Face­book is at launch putting a big em­pha­sis on spo­ken word con­tent for live au­dio, and has book au­thors Adam Grant and Britt Ben­nett par­tic­i­pat­ing in the cur­rent tests as well.

How­ever, the com­pany wants to open up the fea­ture more widely early next year, and one has to won­der whether la­bels artists and DJs will em­brace it for mu­sic at that point as well-which in turn could be an in­ter­est­ing way for Face­book to once again dip a toe into the mu­sic stream­ing world. — Reuters

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