Facebook boosts live video with new interactive options including Live Reactions and group video

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Facebook Live may have started life as a celebrity-only feature, but it soon spread to all users, giving them the opportunity to share their own live video streams. Today the social network unveils a number of new features with the aim of making it easier to find and share live broadcasts, as well as personalizing and interacting with video.

Live video is all about bringing together a community of people to share an experience, so it's little surprise that the first of today's announcements sees the arrival of Facebook Live to Facebook Groups and Facebook Events. Building on the Reactions feature that rolled out recently, live video now also benefits from Live Reactions. But the laundry list of new features doesn't end there.

To build on the interactivity, Facebook is making more of the ability to comment on live videos. Now when footage is replayed at a later date, comments will also be replayed 'as live'. Personalization is made possible through the addition of Live Filters, and on the horizon is the promise of the ability to doodle on live videos. But bearing in mind the popularity of the standard Reaction, it’s the Live Reactions that will probably go down the best with users. Facebook says:

Facebook Live is interactive and fun: Live reactions, replaying comments made while live and Live filters will make it even more so. Live Reactions makes it easy for your viewers to express their feelings in real time during a live broadcast. Using the same reactions we launched in News Feed, viewers can select Love, Haha, Wow, Sad or Angry, and the reactions animate right on top of the video. Live Reactions appear in real time and disappear quickly so broadcasters and other viewers can get a sense of how people are feeling at different points during the live video -- it’s like hearing the crowd applaud and cheer. When your friend reacts to your video or to a video you are both watching together you’ll see their profile pic and a little starburst before their reaction appears.

Building on the idea of making video viewing a shared experience, Facebook is adding the option to invite friends to watch along with you. There really is a big push of Facebook Live at the moment, and discoverability is the name of the game. On the desktop, today sees the launch of a Facebook Live Map to help people find broadcasts that are taking place at the moment. A similar feature is rolling out to mobile apps which will enable users of the social network to find current, popular and trending videos more easily.

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