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Posting to the Stream in Real Time with the Live Stream Box

June 24, 2009ByTom Whitnah

Please note that this blog post covers the Live Stream Box which is no longer available. This post is only available for historical reasons.

During the 2009 US Presidential Inauguration, we tested a new feature that let people share Facebook status updates and comments side by side with real-time streaming video on CNN's website. It was a significant moment for Facebook Platform. We realized how powerful it was to see what your friends were saying, not just on Facebook, but right in context on Users posted over a million status updates during that two hour event. Since then, we have worked with several established websites and entrepreneurs to show real-time updates next to live broadcasts, including the NBA® All-Star Game and many of the sites covering the Oscars®, and we've seen many other sites integrate similar features themselves such as Nana10 in Israel which hosted live broadcasts and their own live conversations using Facebook Connect during the Israeli elections earlier this year.

Today, we're excited to launch the Facebook Live Stream Box as a feature that any website owner or developer can use to enable Facebook users to connect, share, and post updates in real-time as they witness an event online. You can run the Live Stream Box next to live streaming videos of concerts, speeches, sporting events, webcasts, TV shows, presentations, or webinars. Or run the Live Stream Box in multi-player games, or with any other experience where many people are visiting a website at the same time. The Live Stream Box is built for scale and can handle millions of simultaneous viewers updating in real-time.

With the Live Stream Box on your website, users log in using Facebook Connect and share updates that appear both within the Live Stream Box and on their Facebook profiles and in their friends' home page Streams. Each post includes a link back to the Live Stream Box on your site so users can discover the live event and immediately join based on their friends' recommendations. The Live Stream Box includes a tab to see updates from everyone who is posting on the event from across the Web as well as a filter for a user to view just their friends' updates. Please note that the information may move fast, so users will not necessarily see everything that comes through and cannot page through all the history.

The Live Stream Box is easy to install and takes just a minute to set up. You can include a Live Stream Box anywhere on the Web, or within your Facebook Page, or a Facebook application. To get the Live Stream Box on your website, get a Facebook API key, upload a small file to your website, and then embed a few lines of code into your Web page. Please see the full instructions here.

If you are interested in incorporating the Live Stream Box within your Facebook Page, you may be interested in an offering from UStream. They have supported numerous live streaming presentations, including a series of recent Jonas Brothers webcasts from their Facebook Page. During the second in a series of webcasts, fans posted over 1.5 million updates, averaging 23,000 posts per minute. You can read more details about UStream on Facebook Pages.

We're excited to see the various ways you'll incorporate the Live Stream Box in your websites and Pages, and hope to be there with you real time. Please send us any feedback on the Developer Forum.