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Up Periscope: Twitter’s live-streaming Meerkat rival officially launches

Twitter’s arsenal of social apps grew by one today as its live-streaming platform; Periscope finally hit the App Store.

First a bit of background; Twitter bought live-streaming app developer Periscope back in January for nearly $100 million, then at SXSW earlier this month rival live-streaming app Meerkat blew up in a relatively big way. Meerkat relied on Twitter’s Social Graph to get new users connected to other streamers out-the-box and kick-started a budding network.

Realising the potential harm Meerkat may have on Periscope’s eventual launch, Twitter removed Social Graph integration from Meerkat forcing new users to assemble networks of their own and manually follow people from the get-go, bringing us to today, the official launch of Periscope. Up to speed? Good. Phew.

So what is Periscope? It’s Twitter’s own take on a live-streaming app and features a few notable differences to its leading, fast-growing rival. Meerkat uses Twitter for everything from announcing freshly launched streams, to in-stream comments to following new streamers; all the actions a user makes within Meerkat are essentially echoed on Twitter.

Periscope meanwhile operates as a self-contained social network, similarly to Twitter’s other leading IP, Vine. Whilst you login with a Twitter account and it’s easier to find friends already on the service that you’re associated with via Twitter, you can choose a new username and there’s no direct relay effect with Twitter itself. Instead streams appear in a primary feed and conversations happening within any stream don’t appear elsewhere.

What’s more, broadcasting is strictly a portrait affair with no real support for landscape controls or a web-based viewing experience (another element that took time to reach Vine too). The ability to link to a stream via Twitter is still inactive at this stage, despite the control being accessible from within Periscope.

In Meerkat’s short time on this earth it’s already reportedly amassed around 500,000 users but with Twitter pulling the strings, Periscope will have the backing and technical infrastructure to grow larger and faster, provided users are enamoured with the app’s alternative approach to live streaming.

Both Meerkat and Periscope are available for iOS, with plans for Android in the near future.

Update 26/5/15: Since Periscope’s initial launch, web viewing has now been enabled and as of today a new version of the app is available for Android users from the Google Play Store.

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