Twitter launches Periscope live video streaming app

The social network unveiled on Thursday its live-streaming app acquired only a couple of months ago that allows public and private broadcasts.

Rivalling Meerkat, Twitter launched Periscope, a free app that lets you broadcast live video to your followers on the social network.

When a broadcaster is live they’re sharing video, audio, and location – optional, with viewers, who in turn can interact with the broadcaster in real-time using messages to say what they think or hearts if they like a video – similar to Facebook’s thumbs up.

“On Periscope, viewers influence the broadcaster by sending messages, and expressing their love by tapping the screen to send hearts,” the company says.

Periscope can also be used for private broadcasts. “If you want to broadcast to specific people, press the lock icon before going live and choose who you want to invite to your broadcast.”

Once a broadcast stops it can be made available for replays for up to 24 hours, as well as being saved to the broadcaster’s camera roll. However, when it comes to Meerkat, a popular rival service that now boasts over 100,000 users after it launched at the SXSW festival this month, once you stop streaming you have no way of retrieving the video.

You can choose to share your Periscope broadcasts on Twitter by tapping the bird icon before you start broadcasting. When you go live, you’ll tweet a link so that your Twitter followers can watch on the web or in the app. The number of people watching a broadcast is updated constantly.

Twitter made the app available in advance to Silicon Valley investors, Twitter staff and public figures such as astronaut Chris Hadfield – who shared a live video packing his suitcase for space, magician David Blaine or author Tim Ferriss.

The social network’s move comes shortly after Twitter decided to block Meerkat from accessing its social graph – who to watch based on who you follow on Twitter.

Although video broadcasting apps such as Bambuser, Livestream or Qik have been around, there already seems to be an online consensus among the early adopters of Periscope that it performs well. Latency seems to be reduced, with no connectivity faults and good audio-video quality.

We gave the app a go earlier today and joined Christopher Miller’s live video, senior correspondent at Mashable, who walked though Mariupol, Ukraine and shared some facts and figures. No glitches to report on.

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