Meerkat, the live-streaming video app that has been going head-to-head with Twitter’s Periscope, announced its biggest update ever on Wednesday. The update introduces some new features that are clearly designed to differentiate Meerkat from its well-funded rival.
The most innovative new feature is “Cameo,” which lets you (consensually) hijack someone else’s Meerkat stream for up to 60 seconds.
Here’s how it works.
One user taps someone else’s profile and invites them to “cameo” on their own stream. The second user then accepts and takes control of the first user’s stream for up to minute. At any time, either user can end the cameo, which will revert the stream to the originator’s control.
This collaborative tool brings some of the fun of services like Chatroulette to Meerkat, without the creepy invasiveness. It’s clear that in designing “Cameo,” Meerkat took pains to make its users feel in control when they invite someone to hop into their livestream.
Meerkat also announced the ability to connect to your Facebook profile instead of Twitter, though it won’t actually automatically post anything to Facebook feed. Instead, Meerkat will let you know when any of your contacts starts a Meerkat stream, or joins the service.
Meerkat has had a strained relationship with Twitter since Twitter launched a competing app, Periscope, shortly after Meerkat’s launch. But even so, Meerkat users still had to have a Twitter account to sign up. Now that awkwardness has been eliminated with the wonders of Facebook’s API. And this could, perhaps, signal a deeper interest by Facebook in Meerkat. But for now, the integration will show Facebook how much its users care about Meerkat.
The last part of the update is the Meerkat Library. You can now save your streams to your own personal library at the end of each broadcast. You can them manage your streams and choose which ones in the archive to share publicly.
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