Twitter launches Meerkat-killer app Periscope
Twitter on Thursday launched its streaming video application Periscope, a move that could dampen enthusiasm for the rising online star Meerkat, which offers a similar service.
The Periscope app, like Meerkat, allows anyone to stream live video to a wide audience with their smartphone.
The new app “lets you share and experience live video from your mobile phone” and is “a perfect complement to Twitter, which is why we acquired the company in January,” Twitter’s Kevin Weil said in a blog post.
The Periscope team outlined a range of possibilities for the service, including how it can turn any smartphone user into a global reporter.
“What if you could see through the eyes of a protester in Ukraine? Or watch the sunrise from a hot air balloon in Cappadocia?” the Periscope team blog said.
“It may sound crazy, but we wanted to build the closest thing to teleportation. While there are many ways to discover events and places, we realized there is no better way to experience a place right now than through live video.”
The team said it sees tremendous potential for the app, which is available to iPhone users with one for Android devices in the works.
“Whether you’re witnessing your daughter’s first steps or a newsworthy event, Periscope offers an audience and the power of a shared experience,” the blog said.
“Broadcasters on Periscope are directly connected to their audience, able to feel their presence and interact.”
Earlier this month, as Meerkat was becoming a craze at the South by Southwest festival, Twitter cut Meerkat’s access to some features, which could limit its ability to grow.
Meerkat founder Ben Rubin called the move “a small bump” for the service but said it would continue to grow. The company scheduled an announcement for later Thursday on funding.
It was unclear how much impact Periscope would have on Meerkat, which according to media reports drew 120,000 users in the first weeks and could be nearing one million.
The venture equity firm Greylock Partners announced it was investing in Meerkat, but did not indicate the amount.
“Today, it feels like we are at the dawn of a new era for live video,” Greylock member Josh Elman said in a blog post.
“As a society, our behaviors have shifted to a place where sharing our lives is something we do naturally.”