Several reports this morning cite YouTube co-founder Steve Chen as saying that the company plans to offer live, streaming video on YouTube.com before the end of this year. This is great news in terms of innovation, but I'm on the fence about whether there's any value in it.
For one, will we be watching Little Timmy at home on his webcam singing live to American Idol? Or will we see more compelling content? Here's another question that could have primetime TV shaking in its boots: will we see live TV shows broadcast via the Internet? Of course we can already access shows on the Web; but will adding this live streaming capability to arguably the biggest online video site add another level of appeal to taking shows online?
Of course adding live video could be tough to implement, especially for a Website already plagued with blame for "permitting" copyright or questionable material. Where and how will censors come in? How can the company possibly monitor every live streaming video on the site at any given time to ensure that there's no profanity? No use of copyright materials? It can't be an easy task to achieve, but with the strength of Google behind them, it might just be possible.
Personally, I'll stick to cable, satellite, or DVDs for the majority of my video content. But YouTube could very well find a niche for live video streaming online; whether it be streaming commentary from someone at the scene of a local accident; to live streaming of a birthday party or wedding that family members overseas were unable to attend. The possibilities are endless for both personal sharing and business development.