Yahoo Live streaming video site goes live, dies, comes back

Experimental live video-streaming site initially crashes from too much traffic after launch

Yahoo's launch of its Yahoo Live site had a rocky start last week as an initial onslaught of traffic caused the experimental site, which allows users with Web cameras to stream live video of themselves, to be unavailable at times.

The site, which was back up this morning with 580 people logged on, is an experiment aimed at taking users back to live television, where things happen in real time, noted Michael Quoc, Yahoo's director of advanced products.

"You've been posting your stuff to MySpace and YouTube," he added. "Now, connect with your fans in real time on Y! Live. There is something intangible about a live performance - an excitement that you can't replicate in pre-recorded format. Broadcast a performance, interact with your fans with video and chat, embed your broadcast anywhere."

Marshall Kirkpatrick, a blogger at Read Write Web and other tech bloggers who reviewed the site noted that it had early issues with handling traffic.

"Apparently, the company that gets more Web traffic than anyone on earth is incapable so far of handling 400 people watching 30 live video streams," Kirkpatrick wrote. "Actually, a flood of early adopters just came in via [micro-blogging site] Twitter and the thing promptly broke - completely as far as I can tell."

Still, he noted that the site combines many of the best practices pioneered by live video streaming start-ups like USTream with interesting features like allowing as many as five participants to do video and audio on one page together.

Yahoo also plans to release a Yahoo Live API for developers in the coming months.

Quoc noted that Yahoo Live is an experimental release, mainly launched to get feedback from initial users. "The advanced products team is a small incubation team at Yahoo - our mission is to build stuff and launch it quickly, and respond to market feedback," he added. "Y! Live is a limited capacity release, so bear with us as and we may reach our limits in periods of high traffic."

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Heather Havenstein

Computerworld
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