Facebook expands sharing options

San Francisco, December 4

Get ready to start watching live video of your friends and family doing something fun, boring or even dumb on Facebook (FB).

The world’s largest social network is testing a new feature that will enable its 1.5 billion users to use their smartphones to shoot video so other people can see what they are doing as it happens.

Facebook began testing the live video option on Thursday among a sliver of its US audience with iPhones. The Menlo Park, California, company didn’t specify when everyone with a Facebook account and a smartphone will have an opportunity to broadcast live.

The feature represents FB’s latest challenge to online messaging service Twitter, which introduced a live video application called Periscope earlier this year. Another popular app called Meerkat also can be used to share live video in social circles.

This isn’t the first time that Facebook has copied others’ ideas in an attempt to ensure its social network remains the leading digital hangout.

In recent years, Facebook also has embraced hashtag symbol, a Twitter technique for flagging major events and topics of conversation, and cloned an option to check into specific places that was popularised by Foursquare.

In another move of mimicry, Facebook is introducing another feature called ‘Collage’ that will automatically bundle photos and video taken in the same place or at the same event into a slideshow. The concept mirrors a feature that Google introduced in its Plus social network years ago.