Twitter announces today Periscope to answer the live video streaming Meerkat. For those unfamiliar, Meerkat is an app that released in March in the App Store to do one thing only, live stream whatever is that you’re doing to your Twitter followers. You press “Stream”, and just like that, your live video stream will appear to your follower’s Twitter feeds.
Periscope from Twitter is practically the same thing. It allows you to start a live broadcast to your followers. While Meerkat is a separate company that hooks into your Twitter account, Periscope is more unique in a sense that it has been carefully designed to integrate with the micro-blogging social network giant service.
Originally, Periscope was a separate company just like Meerkat, but Twitter bought it back in January, for $100 million. So, even though it might seem that Twitter has created Periscope in eight weeks, the app actually has been in development for over twelve months.
The app is currently only available in the Apple’s App Store for your iPhone, no Android for now, but it’s on the works; no word on a Windows Phone app. One of the biggest features about the service is that it saves those video streams by default for later viewing by you or others. This is a downside for Meerkat as many users find frustrating not being able to replay a stream if they miss the live action.
Periscope has a few more features than Meerkat. For example, you can send hearts to let the broadcaster know that you like what is being streamed. The hearts also appear on everyone else watching the live stream as a way of real-time interaction, and may be better than just showing the number of viewers. Users are not limited to one heart, multiple hearts can also be sent as well, which further assures the person broadcasting that the stream is good. Of course, you can also chat with your follower, just like Meerkat.
Setting up Periscope is easy: download the app from the App Store in your iPhone, sign-in with your Twitter account, then you’ll see a list of current live streams, right below you will also see a list of recent streams. If you were wondering, no, you cannot launch Periscope from your Twitter app; you need to launch the app manually.
You can follow as many Periscope users as you like, just keep in mind that by default, you’ll receive a notification for each one that is livestreaming, though you can always turn off notifications.