Periscope overtakes Meerkat, but that’s not saying much (yet) (Wired UK)


Twitter’s new live streaming app Periscope has officially taken an early lead
on its just-barely more established rival Meerkat in the UK.
But for a category as young as this, it’s all relative.

Both services are dominating conversations between version one
adopters and tech writers on Twitter, rising in weight on Google Trends, and
presumably a WIRED
Next Generation
attendee somewhere is already plotting how to
make their first million live-streaming their daily lives (how
about it Zayn?).

The earliest rounds (at this point measured in hours) have gone
to Periscope. Meerkat has some high-profile users, and latterly a new pot of funding, but Periscope has used Twitter’s social
graph muscle to overtake Meerkat where it counts: in downloads.
After just a single day on Apple’s App Store, Periscope has already
risen above its rival. Neither are riding very high,
however; Periscope is currently sitting at the heady heights of
59th on the ‘free apps’ chart of the UK social networking category.
Meerkat, which offers similar functionality but without the close
integration you would expect between Twitter and its own service,
is languishing down at number 123. That’s a significant drop from
its highest position of 40th overall, which it held on Friday 20
March, according to App Annie. 


Still, a lead is a lead. Periscope has also stolen Meerkat’s
thunder in terms of reviews. The Verge described Periscope’s ability to save video clips
after broadcasting as a “killer feature”. CNET said “Meerkat may have started the revolution, Periscope
is set to take over”. The Next Web went further: “I saw the future and it is
Periscope,” said Owen Williams, after footage of a large explosion
in Manhattan’s East Village was broadcast live on the service just
hours after the app launched. “The future will be televised…
on your phone.”

Obviously the cultural significance of live-streaming video is
growing extremely rapidly. There’s even a Windows Phone third-party clone (high
praise). 

But even the briefest of looks at the sort of apps currently
higher than both services on the charts is a clue that most app
users are yet to confront, or embrace, the reality of mobile live
streaming.

All of the big-hitters you’d expect dominate the top ten
(Facebook, WhatsApp…), but there are plenty of other social
services higher up that you might not recognise. Timehop, the
nostalgia-engine recently challenged by Facebook’s own ‘On This
Day’ feature, is sitting at number 10 on the free social networking
chart. The free text and calls apps ooVoo (14) and Tango (15),
dating apps POF (17) and Match.com (36) and several emoji
keyboards, and GIF messenger apps are also higher than any live
streaming service.

Neither Meerkat or Periscope appear in the top 100 free apps
overall in the UK.

That’s likely to change soon; all of those numbers are correct
as of press time, but with Periscope enjoying a banner-ad Featured
slot on the App Store, many more users are sure to give it a whirl.
On Friday morning Periscope users were able to select from streams
showcasing such delights as the inside of Beijing Airport, the
offices of a Russian Apple rumours blog and various morning
commutes – not immediately compelling content, perhaps, but
illustrative of Periscope’s variety at least. And their
ambition is for something even more transformative. “We wanted to
build the closest thing to teleportation,” the Periscope team wrote
on Medium.
“While there are many ways to discover events and
places, we realised there is no better way to experience a place
right now than through live video”.

But as is perhaps traditional after the initial bloom of a craze
like this, it’s worth having a sense of perspective as well as
excitement. This brave new world of everyone watching everyone
else’s low-res, shaky live-streams is going to take some time to
turn into more than an experiment — for users, and for
Twitter.

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27 March 2015 | 9:15 am – Source: wired.co.uk

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