Periscope tool adds guests to feeds so streamers can become talk show hosts

Periscope live broadcasts could soon feel a little less one-sided. On Monday, February 4, the Twitter-owned Periscope shared a new feature that allows streamers to add guests to contribute to the feed. 

The feature allows the host to add up to three users to join the live video stream. The “allow guests” option needs to be configured while setting up the broadcast in order to enable the tool, Periscope says. Users can then invite guest broadcasters to join in on the stream, choosing from the list of viewers chiming into the video. The guests are then part of the stream, but in audio form only, not video.

Selected guests that approve the invitation get a countdown before being added to the stream. Periscope says that guests can leave the conversation at any time.

The update allows livestreamers to use formats such as interviews and debates without having the guest physically standing next to you. Instead, the guests can use their own device to join in on the stream.

The update brings Periscope interactions beyond the usual comment tool. Parent company Twitter says that the feature will eventually roll out to the live options inside the Twitter app. Periscope says the update is similar to a talk show, opening up more opportunities to host conversations on the live streaming platform.

The feature is similar to options like Instagram’s “go live with” tool — though Instagram uses video and not exclusively audio of the guests joining in on the stream. After launching the tool late last year, Instagram opened up an option where viewers can request to join the livestream. Shared livestreams use a split screen between the users joining in on the stream.

With Twitter’s main app now including livestreaming tools without a secondary app, users have fewer reasons to download Periscope, which the social network bought out in 2015. New features, however, typically come to the Periscope app first before trickling down to the Twitter app — like the new guest feature.

Periscope says the update is now rolling out for both iOS and Android apps.

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