Meerkat is moving away from livestreams and toward being a video social network

meerkat livestream gopro
Remember Meerkat? If you were at SXSW last year, you probably do — but otherwise, perhaps not so much. The livestreaming app was something of a one-hit wonder. It catapulted the notion of mobile-based livestreaming to broader audiences, but somehow, somewhere along the way, Meerkat got outplayed. Twitter launched Periscope, Facebook Live became a thing, and when you’re up against two of the most established social networks in the world, you might call one a rock and the other an extremely hard place. So in response, Meerkat has come up with a solution of its own — they’re not shuttering, but they’re moving away from the livestream space, and moving towards a video social network instead.

In an email sent to Meerkat’s 48 investors, CEO Ben Rubin wrote, “The year started on a high note … But over the year, it became rougher waters. Mobile broadcast video hasn’t quite exploded as quickly as we’d hoped. The distribution advantages of Twitter/Periscope and Facebook Live drew more early users to them away from us and we were not able to grow as quickly alongside as we had planned.”

And growth has been a key issue for Meerkat. While people seem more than willing to watch the livestreams (Rubin tells Re/code that audience numbers are still burgeoning), the number of people actually providing content has stagnated at around 100,000. So now, they’re shifting gears altogether.

While Rubin has stayed relatively mum on just what the new focus of Meerkat will be, Re/code reports that its plans “sound more akin to Google Hangouts or Skype, with a priority on smaller, group video chats with people you know versus strangers tuning in.”

So does this mean that Meerkat’s days are numbered? Not necessarily. As Mashable points out, it’s not at all uncommon for smaller, more nascent startups to pivot in their early days, especially when faced with such formidable competition. So don’t lose hope just yet, Meerkat lovers. The face may be changing, but the soul will (hopefully) stay the same.

Emerging Tech

Microsoft’s friendly new A.I wants to figure out what you want — before you ask

Move over Siri and Alexa! Microsoft wants to build a new type of virtual assistant that wants to be your friend. Already making waves in Asia, could this be the future of A.I. BFFs?
News

Xfinity indoor/outdoor camera zooms in on Grinch’s faces and license plates

Comcast's Xfinity Home security cameras can help the police catch Grinches who steal delivery packages from your home. The cameras use artificial intelligence to analyze moving objects and zoom in on faces at your door and license plates.
Home Theater

5 gorgeous turntables that spin stacks of wax in style for less than $500

Vinyl records are awesome, but they're also finicky. To get the best out of your stacks of wax, it's best to play them on a quality turntable. Here are the best turntables to be had for under $500.
Computing

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.
Social Media

Dine and dash(board): Make a Yelp reservation from your car’s control panel

Already in the car, but can't decide where to eat? Yelp Reservations can now be added to some dashboard touchscreens. Yelp Reservations searches for restaurants within 25 miles of the vehicle's location.
Computing

Hackers sold 120 million private Facebook messages, report says

Up to 120 million private Facebook messages were being sold online by hackers this fall. The breach was first discovered in September and the messages were obtained through unnamed rogue browser extensions. 
Social Media

Facebook opens pop-up stores at Macy’s, but they’re not selling the Portal

Facebook has opened pop-up stores at multiple Macy's, though they're not selling Facebook's new Portal device. Instead, they're showcasing small businesses and brands that are already popular on Facebook and Instagram.
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. You're in luck -- we've gathered 23 of the best subreddits to help…
Social Media

Facebook Messenger will soon let you delete sent messages

A feature coming to Facebook Messenger will let you delete a message for up to 10 minutes after you send it. The company promised the feature months ago and this week said it really is on its way ... "soon."
Social Media

Pinterest brings followed content front and center with full-width Pin format

Want to see Pinterest recommendations, or just Pins from followed users? Now Pinners can choose with a Pinterest Following feed update. The secondary feed eliminates recommendation and is (almost) chronological.
Smart Home

Facebook's Alexa-enabled video-calling devices begin shipping

Facebook's Portal devices are video smart speakers with Alexa voice assistants built in that allow you to make calls. The 15-inch Portal+ model features a pivoting camera that follows you around the room as you speak.
Social Media

Vine fans, your favorite video-looping app is coming back as Byte

Vine fans were left disappointed in 2017 when its owner, Twitter, pulled the plug on the video-looping app. But now one of its co-founders has promised that a new version of the app, called Byte, is coming soon.
News

Social media use increases depression and anxiety, experiment shows

A study has shown for the first time a causal link between social media use and lower rates of well-being. Students who limited their social media usage to 30 minutes a day showed significant decreases in anxiety and fear of missing out.
Social Media

Twitter boss hints that an edit button for tweets may finally be on its way

Twitter has been talking for years about launching an edit button for tweets, but it still hasn't landed. This week, company boss Jack Dorsey addressed the matter again, describing a quick-edit button as "achievable."