This app allows users to easily livestream video from their cellphones onto their Twitter accounts. Now, that might not seem like a big deal at first, but being able to watch and record events live has the potential to affect much of the existing infrastructure.
Think of this as an example. Media companies pay big bucks to get the right to broadcast events like the Olympics live. What will happen when any of the people attending these events can broadcast them with their smart phones for free?
Or pick another hot button topic like police brutality in the United States. With livestreaming, people could broadcast their encounters with police officers live without having to worry about the footage being deleted later because everyone has already seen it.
What about politics? Now, campaigns and reporters will be able to directly broadcast video on Twitter. When everyone can broadcast live, nothing will ever be the same.
Figuring it out now?
Much like Twitter, Meerkat’s big debut had everyone in Silicon Valley declaring it the next big thing. The app racked up more than 100,000 downloads in just over two weeks.
The app was originally designed to work exclusively with Twitter. In fact, Meerkat required users to have a Twitter handle before they could use the app.
Originally this worked well for both companies. Given that Twitter had proven itself to be the best real-time news outlet, Meerkat seems made for the right platform. And Meerkat’s Twitter sign-in requirement has forced some people to join Twitter.
It seemed like a match made in heaven.
But things are rarely that simple.
Meerkat was originally designed to use Twitter's social graph and user data in order to make it easier for new users to find their friends.
Then last week, Twitter acquired and launched a Meerkat competitor called Periscope.
After purchasing Periscope, Twitter decided to halt the access Meerkat had to Twitter’s social graph. This drastically decreased Meerkat's ability to notify users when their friends are livestreaming.
So while Meerkat users can still broadcast live videos on their Twitter feeds, their followers will no longer get a notification when a new live stream begins. Hard to broadcast when no one knows to watch.
This was done with virtually no warning, which left Meerkat floundering in the Digital waters.
Of course, Twitter did this to try to destroy the competition. Periscope officially launched last Thursday, and now Meerkat has some honest competition that can access Twitters social graph.
In response to this decision, Meerkat CEO Ben Rubin told Yahoo Tech the company would build its own social graph features.
Ben Rubin said that “Twitter’s move here shows how significant Meerkat has become. This is a small bump for Meerkat — a product built in only 8 weeks by one person — and a sad day for the Twitter developer community, who build amazing products that help us connect with each other. And lastly, this is just the beginning for Meerkat.”
“Facebook is not a real-time platform. It doesn’t cater to what we want to do,” Rubin said.
However, an app called Katch aims to change that.
If you add #Katch to your Meerkat video description tweet, the service will record and upload the live stream to YouTube, tweeting you a link to the video once it’s done processing.
You don’t even have to download a Katch app to use it. It's automatic — all done by hashtag.
And it's not just media outlets either. Brands including JCPenney and Starbucks have also started using Meerkat.
So as the slogan for Periscope says - Livestreaming lets you see the world through someone else's eyes.
Based in Toronto, PLANET4iT is a Canadian-owned and operated recruitment and placement agency that helps companies and employment seekers survive the Digital Revolution