At SXSW this year, the app enthusiasts finally had something to rave about. Introducing the first breakthrough app to be revealed to a large audience at South by Southwest since Foursquare – everyone, meet Meerkat.
Meerkat is an app the allows the user to use the camera in a smart phone as a live web cam. When you activate Meerkat, it lets your followers on Twitter know you’re live streaming video. When you end the streaming or close the app, the videos is gone. It’s not saved or stored or kept on file, just streams your video, like a window into your world.
This, for obvious reason, got a lot of people in the tech industry excited. Launching at the infamous SXSW conference was a smart way to get the initial 100,000 downloads. Everyone was downloading Meerkat. Well that was until Twitter found out. Twitter didn’t like this much. After all, Meerkat was using networks people had already established on Twitter to broadcast to. Smart strategy really, until Twitter doesn’t want you using their network anymore.
What we found out after SXSW is that a couple months prior, Twitter acquired a company that does something peculiarly similar. Periscope, an app that offers similar features to Meerkat but is owned by Twitter.
And the Twitterrati were shut down.
It didn’t take long for Twitter to notify the owners of Meerkat that they will no longer have access to the Twitter Social Graph (where Twitter tracks who follows who), basically making Twitter useless to Meerkat. But a defensive move against an opponent signals a sign of assumed weakness. Is Twitter worried that Meerkat already has the marketshare of mobile streaming?
Enter Periscope. Twitter’s live streaming app and Meerkat competitor. They look remarkably similar but the edge has to go to Periscope as it has more features and is backed by Twitter’s already massive network. Periscope seems like the App with more options for what you want to do with live streaming but there is certainly something to be said about going to market first. Meerkat has much more momentum coming off a great launch at SXSW.
It may not be whether or not Meerkat is going to beat out Periscope or vice versa, the question we are asking, are live streaming apps here to stay? What other applications do live streaming apps have other than festivals, shows, vacations, or entertainment?