Google launches live streaming video trial

Google-owned video sharing site YouTube is to launch its biggest ever trial of live streaming video.

The site has teamed up with four US broadcasters for a two-day trial of live video streams, starting today.

Google's initial broadcast partners - Howcast, Next New Networks, Rocketboom and Young Hollywood - aren't exactly headline-grabbing names. But if the trial goes well, the company has much bigger plans.

"Based on the results of this initial test," Google said yesterday on its YouTube blog, "we'll evaluate rolling out the platform more broadly to our partners worldwide."

Google has offered live video streams on YouTube before, using the site to broadcast live events such as Indian Premier League cricket or announcements from the White House. But the big news this time is that the service may not be restricted to established broadcasters.

"This new platform integrates live streaming directly into YouTube channels; all broadcasters need is a webcam or external USB/FireWire camera," YouTube explained on its blog.

The service is also set to feature live comments, enabling viewers to interact directly with the broadcaster in real time.