Twitter Releases Periscope, Its Very Own Meerkat

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Social media overfloweth with video.

On Thursday morning, Twitter launched Periscope, its newly acquired live-video streaming app, allowing Twitter users to share broadcasts directly with followers. App users can notify all of their Twitter followers, or just a select group, when streaming begins and see viewers as they join and comment live. When a broadcast is finished, it can be stored in a phone's camera roll and viewed on Periscope for up to 24 hours.

Twitter's Periscope app
Twitter's Periscope app

That replay feature is distinct from Meerkat, the rival streaming app that quickly rose to prominence in tech circles. Once video streams end in Meerkat, they are done.

Periscope's launch comes a day after Facebook announced a slew of new features, including an amplified video ad exchange, at its developer's conference.

Video is becoming increasingly key for Twitter, as it tries to take on bigger rivals Facebook and Google. Earlier this week, Twitter introduced an autoplay video feature to some users. Live broadcast is its next step. It quietly scooped up Periscope -- its motto: "explore the world through someone else's eyes" -- in January, before the service went public, reportedly for just shy of $100 million.

Meanwhile, Meerkat exploded in recent weeks, adding users and dominating the recent South by Southwest festival. On March 13, Twitter confirmed its purchase of Periscope, as well as its move to pull its data, the social graph, from Meerkat. Still, Meerkat persisted. On Wednesday, the company proclaimed, via Twitter, it would announce new funding, via Meerkat, at noon on Thursday.

It's not clear if Twitter has a money-making strategy for Periscope, or even wants one yet. As with Vine, its six-second video app, Twitter is likely to focus first on getting users on board. Periscope, like Meerkat, is only available on Apple products. An Android version is in the works, according to a Twitter spokeswoman.

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