Meerkat, the popular live video streaming service, is about to get more social. The company announced its biggest update yet, which lets you make cameo appearances.
Appropriately called “Cameo,” this new feature will let you take over a live stream for up to 60 seconds. This is Meerkat’s way of moving from “broadcasting to” toward “broadcasting with.”
Here’s how it works: The broadcaster has to invite individual viewers through either a Cameo @username comment or by tapping on the viewer’s profile.
Everyone watching the live stream will be able to see the Cameo appearance, and the cameo participant’s followers will be notified, bringing more viewers to the live stream.
Either the participant or the broadcaster can end the Cameo at anytime, but it will automatically end at 60 seconds regardless.
Cameo could provide a better experience for all since it allows for better two-way conversations. It’s perfect for debates in which viewers can offer their own take on a particular topic.
Meerkat was once the only game in town for live broadcasting, but Twitter’s Periscope has become more popular, even though it was late to the party. Cameo could give Meerkat a leg up, but it’s likely that Periscope will offer something similar to counter.
Cameo is by far the biggest announcement today, but Meerkat has one other trick that might prove to be more important. Users don’t have to signup with Twitter anymore and can connect their Facebook profile instead. This will likely bring a lot more viewers, since Facebook has over 1.4 billion active users, nearly five times greater than Twitter’s 300 million. Meerkat will only notify friends of live streams, and nothing will be posted on Facebook timelines.
Last but not least, the Meerkat Library, which will be a history of saved broadcasts, launched in beta. Users will have an option at the end of each stream to include it in the library. All streams in the Meerkat Library can be found at meerkatapp.co/[username].
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