Thursday, July 9, 2015

Meerkat Breaks From Twitter & Adds in Co-Stars in Massive New Update

Live streaming app Meerkat rolled out several major updates Wednesday morning, including the ability to sign up on the platform through Facebook instead of Twitter, a feature they are calling Cameo that lets you invite those watching your stream to take over that stream for 1 minute, and a final update, giving users the ability to save streams in something called the Meerkat Library rather than simply on your phone. All of these are huge improvements, and as we always talk about, things they have listened to users asking for.

The mingling with Facebook is a biggie. When Meerkat first launched, users would only be able to sign into Meerkat via Twitter, and could tweet out that they were streaming. Then Periscope arrived, and Meerkat was cut off from Twitters social graph. This new update now means streamers have the ability to sign up via Facebook registration, not even needing a Twitter account. It will also help those already on the platform to find their Facebook friend’s streams. It was only a matter of time before Meerkat partnered with Facebook, they had to find a way around the blockade Twitter forced upon them.

I believe the real “game-changing” update is the introduction of Cameo, however. With Wednesday’s update, Meerkat added the ability to invite anyone watching your current stream to take over. If the chosen viewer accepts, everyone watching the stream can see that user make a “cameo” appearance during your stream for up to 1 minute. Since inception, I have watched many users want to be able to toggle between the original streamer and someone watching. This makes engagement grow faster, as it gives the chance to have more of a “normal” conversation between streamer and viewers. With one streamer, it is more of a broadcast, but Cameo has made Meerkat much more inclusive, adding to more of a community feel. For brands, Cameo is ripe with marketing possibilities. They now have the opportunity to have their sponsored athletes, celebrities, and influencers appear on their streams, to speak directly with their community.

The biggest problem I have noticed with Meerkat is how regularly it drops streams. Though this update has promised “bug fixes and stability improvements,” I still watched interrupted streams as quickly as last night.

Currently, this update is only available in the App Store and on Google Play. There has been no mention of a date when Android users will be able to take part in these new additions.



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