There is a huge amount of content on YouTube, and a growing proportion of it is accounted for by live streams. While it is often possible to catch up on a live stream after it has ended, this means missing out on the excitement and sense of community that stems from watching a live event at the same time as others.
With this in mind, YouTube is making it easier to locate live streams. Borrowing an idea already used by both TikTok and Instagram, YouTube is making a tweak to avatars to make it clear when a channel is live streaming.
The change means that when a channel is live streaming, a ring will be displayed around its avatar as a clear and obvious indicator. More than this, if you click on the avatar, you will be taken directly to the live stream rather than to the creator's profile.
Ring, ring, ring
YouTube's Chief Product Officer, Neal Mohan, shared news of the change in a tweet:
Really focused making it easier for users to find livestreams on @YouTube so we’re rolling out the Live rings feature on mobile! @YouTubeCreators streaming live will now have a ring around the channel avatar & clicking on the avatar will take you directly to the livestream. pic.twitter.com/QylUbpktumFebruary 18, 2022
Analysis: what about desktop users?
There is no mention of desktop users at the moment, and it's unclear if the feature will migrate from mobile or not.
So, will this make it easier to find live streams? The answer really depends on how you use YouTube. People who are keen followers of a channel will likely be aware of upcoming live streams, and will have created a reminder to ensure they don't miss out. For the casual browser looking for YouTube videos based in comedy, it is unlikely to make a great deal of difference.
Some responses to Mohan's tweet also question the value of the change, but no new feature is ever going to delight everyone in equal measure.
For anyone who is keen to seek out live broadcasts rather than pre-recorded videos, it does provide another quick and easy way to differentiate one from the other. It may not be a change that generates a massive level of excitement from YouTube users, but it is a nice touch that brings the service in line with other video platforms.
- Check out our guide to the best YouTube converters