Valve has announced the pre-GDC launch of two potentially major new features for Steam: The "early beta" release of Steam Link Anywhere, which will enable streamed gaming to any compatible device, and Steam Networking Sockets APIs, granting developers access to the technology and infrastructure that underlies CS:GO and Dota 2.
Steam Link Anywhere is an extension of Steam Link that will enable users to connect to their PCs and play games from anywhere (thus the name), rather than being limited to a local network. It's compatible with both the Steam Link hardware and app, and will be rolled out automatically (and freely) to everyone who owns the hardware with beta firmware installed, the Android app beta, or the Raspberry Pi app. You'll also need to be enrolled in the Steam client beta, and have the latest version installed.
Assuming you've got all that covered, you'll see an "Other Computer" option on the screen when searching for computers to connect to via Steam Link. Select that, follow the instructions, and you'll be set. Valve didn't provide specific network requirements but said you'll need "a high upload speed from your computer and strong network connection to your Steam Link device" in order to use it.
Steam Link Anywhere faces the same infrastructure limitations as other streaming game services—you won't get anywhere without a fast, firm network connection—but if Valve can get the performance to a reasonably good level without requiring network speeds that 95 percent of the world doesn't have access to yet, it could be a very exciting step forward.
Steam Networking Sockets APIs isn't as flashy (and that "flash" is definitely relative) but is aimed squarely at developers, and could be even more significant to Steam's fortunes given the pressure it's facing from the Epic Games Store: It enables developers to run their game traffic through Valve's own private gaming network, providing players "faster and more secure connections." It's free for developers, and "a large portion" of the API is now open source, which could be a pretty big draw for devs look to incorporate online play with a minimum of fuss. If that's your bag, you can get more detailed information at steamcommunity.com, and Valve will be talking about the new feature in-depth at a Game Developer's Conference panel next Thursday, March 21.