Business - August 16, 2017

Messaging app Line adds livestreaming for group chats

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n the latest update to its messaging app, Line has added a livestreaming feature which can be used in group or multi-person chats of up to 200 people, called Chat Live.

The company suggests a variety of uses for the live video feature — such as chatting with friends while livestreaming a sporting event or chatting with grandparents while showing them their grandchildren.

The messaging platform, which reported a total 169 million monthly active users in its Q2, and is especially popular in Japan, has offered video and group calling features for some time — adding group video calls (including live reaction effects) back in December, for instance.

But it’s continuing to build out its comms capabilities, especially around video — and says the livestreaming feature is part of ongoing efforts to provide users with an “increasingly rich communications experience”.

Given Line’s group chat feature already supports up to 200 users there’s potentially some business user scenarios here, such as conference calling with a live show-and-tell element — the company has previously couched its apps as a potential replacement for paid business-grade conference call services.

To start livestreaming within a Line chat, a Line user taps on the ‘telephone’ icon and than hits the ‘Live’ button.

The size of the livestream screen can be adjusted, from full screen to 1/8 and various settings in between.

Fierce competition to grab eyeballs in the social comms space continues to accelerate techie developments.

Snapchat’s real-time selfie lenses’ most recent play is the ability to Pikachu users, for example. Standing still when your competitors are sticking yellow bunny ears on users’ video selfies isn’t really an option.

Hence the Line v7.9.0 update also brings over face recognition filter and effects from other standalone Line camera apps — namely its B612 app, which offers “beautification adjustments” for selfies; and its Foodie camera app which, as the name suggests, offers food lovers a series of filters and effects aimed at enhancing their culinary chronicles.

Both types of effects are now also available in Line messaging app’s in-chat camera — including being accessible via the new livestreaming feature — with seven filters and 50 effects available at this point, and Line touting more to come in future.

“Users will be able to use filters and effects to touch up their complexion and have fun manipulating their pictures and videos from within the chat, all without opening another camera app,” it says.

Another new feature, added initially to Line’s iOS app, with an Android release date still tbc, is the ability to display a minimized video or YouTube player from within the Line app — to, as Line puts it, “enjoy videos while chatting”.

It notes that the Line app camera supports taking pictures in three aspect ratios (1:1, 3:4, and 9:16), and offers the ability to make simple edits to videos, such as trimming the length or removing the audio.

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