We checked it out as it was happening. It reminded us of a MySpace page with an embedded streaming object at the header in place of the MySpace player.
It was pretty cool: 3 streams to choose from, MySpace-like comments, a Friends section, etc.
Not bad. If the service will be released to users, we will know soon.
My lack of in-ness with YouTube channel offerings kept me from really appreciating the event. I am probably familar with less than a dozen YouTube-grown music, comedy, news, performance channels, and didn't recognize many of the featured performers.
Google has massive server farms, growing in capacity daily, and they are looking for new ways to harness their power instead of just adding to the gmail file storage limit. IMHO, this would be one of the best ways to utilize it, though apparently, providing live streaming is difficult, bandwidth-expensive, and tough to monetize, as is touched upon here, excerpted below:
Live streaming is very expensive and hard to monetize. A Google source told us in August that YouTube execs figure that if just 10% of YouTube's users adopted live streaming, bandwidth costs would go up 20% to 25%.
That's because live-streaming clips tend to last much longer than the short video clips typical of YouTube. They also require data to pass both ways.
It's also hard to make money off live-streaming. Advertisers don't want to put their brands against live content created by uncontrollable YouTube users.
Always in motion is the future, and the streams travel fast, so this could quickly change.