Earlier this month Ustream made a bit of history alongside NASA when it reportedly garnered more viewers for its live stream of the Mars rover landing than cable television. Now the company has its sights set on capturing Facebook's near one billion users with a new product it calls Broadcast for Friends.
The application, which is being launched as a standalone app for the iPhone, is designed specifically for Facebook users who want to live stream video directly to their member pages. One interesting aspect of the app is that it doesn't require a Ustream account, only a Facebook membership.
Ustream's willingness to give up the opportunity to snag new Ustream account holders in favour of simply seeding Facebook with its product is a technique many new startups have used to gain instant traction, but it comes as a surprise from such an established player. Currently in its beta phase, even the launch page for the app is branded to look like a separate product from Ustream's usual offerings.
Within the app are 10 filters that can layer your video with visual effects to suit the content being streamed. Among the selections are Valentino, which appears to be a sepia tone filter, Vendetta, described as a graphic novel effect, Maltese, for film noir buffs, and even a Curiosity filter designed as a nod to the new robotic rover footage coming from the surface of Mars.
Once you're done recording, the video automatically becomes a part of your Facebook timeline and it's also accessible from within the app itself. Broadcast for Friends will be a free download in the app store but won't launch until next week for the general public. In the meantime, the company has released a video (below) showing off the functionality of app, presented last night during a preview event by Ustream CEO Brad Hunstable in San Francisco.