A few months ago, Twitter acquired the original app developer of Periscope. Periscope is an app that lets people stream live video broadcasts to their Twitter followers much like rival Meerkat does. Recently, the app has been relaunched under the Twitter brand.
Periscope is similar to Meerkat, but there are some important differences between the two apps. First, Periscope lets you decide whether your video is shared with all Twitter followers or just Periscope users, and there is also an option to limit your broadcasts to just a few individuals. This level of control over who sees your video broadcast is a nice feature.
While you are broadcasting your video, chats about it are kept within the stream instead of being posted to Twitter. This lets people talk about your video in its full context, rather than posting tweets to everyone. To gamify the app the way Meerkat does with its leaderboard, Periscope lets viewers send “hearts” that raise you higher on a Most Loved list.
Within the app, you can find people to follow based on your Twitter network. You can also choose to unfollow someone on Periscope without affecting their status in your followed list on Twitter itself. You can also toggle a preference that stops notifications of streams.
The Periscope interface gives you suggestions for streams to watch along with menus to help you find people to follow or start your own broadcast. You get to choose whether the app has access to your camera, microphone, and/or location before you launch a stream.
Probably the “killer” feature in Periscope is the replay ability. With replay, users can save their video streams so they can be replayed up to 24 hours later. Meerkat lacks this functionality.
Bear in mind that earlier this month, Twitter effectively hobbled Meerkat. The social network cut off Meerkat’s access to the Twitter social graph, which temporarily halted some of the app’s most important functions like finding people to follow. Meerkat’s developer has worked around some of these obstacles, but the app still isn’t what it used to be.
Periscope is a free download on the App Store, and is iPhone-only.