After weeks of rumors, Twitter has unveiled their new livestreaming app called Periscope. Released today on the App Store (with an Android version to be launched later), the app allows users to broadcast all the brunches, birthdays and breaking news to their followers LIVE.
Periscope was quietly purchased by Twitter in January for a cool $100 million, but many suspect the sudden rise in livestreaming app Meerkat forced the company to rush the new app out the door. Like Meerkat, Periscope allows users watch livestreams. But a crucial difference is that Periscope will save videos and allow users to watch them later.
This feature is likely to be the defining difference between Periscope and Meerkat. After a few taps to open the app, users are given a list of on-going streams, but will also be able to watch previous streams in their entirety. This playback feature is still lacking in some departments -- there is no way to jump around in a stream, for example -- but it is the feature that will allow streams to live on after their broadcast, thus giving users something to watch even when no relevant live streams are available.
The app itself is as polished as you would expect from a $100 million creation. Log in with your Twitter profile, and you can be streaming with just a few taps. While livestreaming may seem like an inherently public action, users can also create private videos if they so choose. Viewers can tap on a livestream to send a "heart" to the broadcaster, and anyone else watching will see the heart pop up. In fact, viewers can tap as many hearts as they want, providing a quick and simple was for broadcasters to know their video is appreciated.
For now, Periscope is still a separate app from Twitter. It is simple to send a livestream to Twitter with a link to the video, but even further integration seems likely in the future.
For now, iPhone users (Periscope works on phones as old as the iPhone 4) can download the app and start streaming. After all, why tweet a picture of what you had for breakfast when you can livestream the whole meal?