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Facebook and Google set their sights on livestream gaming and invasive location sharing

Tech giants Facebook and Google have just announced important additions to their services.

As part of its bid for world domination to expand Facebook Live, the social networking site will allow users to stream live video and gameplay footage from desktop or laptops computers.

Although the new feature is supposedly handy for vloggers, it’s pretty clear that Facebook is taking aim at streaming sites such as Twitch and YouTube Gaming.

Similarly to those services, hardcore users will be able to broadcast live video from external hardware and streaming software, allowing them to get those crucial picture-in-picture shots that capture faces and reactions.

For the casuals out there, the new feature works in the same way as it does on a mobile device. You simply hit the ‘Live’ button from your desktop and boom, you are live streaming from your webcam. The CIA will love it!

Currently, one key difference between Facebook Live, Twitch and YouTube Gaming, is that the latter two allow gamers to monetize their streams. It’s surely only a matter of time before Facebook Live does the same, but for now its main selling points are its convenience and potentially huge audience.

Meanwhile, Google Maps has announced a new feature that allows you to share and give directions to your location.

When in Google Maps, you will be able to open the side menu or tap the blue dot and then hit ‘Share location’. After that, you can choose who to share your location with and how long to share it for.

If you are on a journey, you can also “share trip” so that people will see your expected arrival time. It’ll be a perfect antidote to annoying friends who always claim to be “five minutes away” but arrive an hour later. I’m looking at you, Andrew.

Google is aware of possible privacy issues and does note that you can turn off location sharing at any time. It will give users total control of how long they share their location – from 15 minutes to up to 3 days – and will automatically switch off when you arrive at your destination.

According to Techcruch, Facebook recently abandoned a similar feature of ‘Nearby Friends’ that allowed you to share your precise location, possibly due to privacy concerns and battery drainage issues. Perhaps in an attempt to combat these problems, Google will periodically send you email notifications to remind you that you are sharing your location.

Google says the feature will be available on both Android and iOS “soon”, so you can expect to start timing your arrivals perfectly within a couple of weeks.

About the author

Stefan is an Adelaide-based freelance writer. In his spare time, he plays tennis badly, collects vinyl and brushes up on his Mandarin. Follow Stefan on Twitter

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