Today the world was introduced to Twitter’s new live-streaming product offering called Periscope. As previously mentioned in my article, “What is Meerkat?” Twitter announced that it had recently purchased Periscope on the heels of Meerkat’s explosive new user growth following its release approximately three weeks ago.

I had previously signed up with Periscope to receive notification of its launch and when I was at the San Antonio airport today, I received an email announcing that Periscope was live and that the app could be downloaded from the Apple App Store (sorry Android users, you will have to wait). In addition to using Periscope on your iOS device, you can watch the live-stream right from you desktop computer by clicking on the link from your Twitter feed.

So of course I quickly, well not that quickly due to the airport WiFi, downloaded Periscope on my iPhone 6 Plus. After the app was installed, you first have to connect to your Twitter account. Unlike Meerkat, since Periscope is owned by Twitter, Periscope has access to Twitter’s social graph so that it automatically will suggest you to follow certain accounts as well as those that you follow/follow you on Twitter. I found it interesting that out of the 155,000 Twitter followers that follow me and the 110,000 Twitter followers, there were only about 30 suggested followers. Now I will take this with a grain of salt because I don’t know how quickly Periscope can search my Twitter followers.

Read: What is Meerkat?

If Persicope’s access to Twitter’s social graph is anything like Vine’s access to Twitter’s social graph, then these numbers may not be entirely accurate. For example, I was a relatively early user of Vine and quite a while later (definitely greater than a year) I started getting notifications from people on Twitter welcoming me to Vine. I was so confused, but then I realized that somehow Vine made a notification that I just joined Vine well after the fact. However, even with this snafu I’m thankful because my Vine followers grew at a rapid clip to now over 5,000 followers.

Any rate, back to Periscope. Once you have granted access to your phone’s camera, microphone and location, you are ready to stream on Periscope. Please note that before each live-stream, you have the ability to turn off your location. So there I was in the San Antonio airport and I decided to live-stream me waiting for my airplane.  Once I hit the broadcast button on my phone, as tweet was sent out to my Twitter followers and I was live. So what happened? I started to see people join the stream and then people started commenting.

People were asking questions, but unlike Meerkat, the questions were only contained within the Periscope app, versus being integrated with Twitter. I found this to be slightly annoying at first, but then it reminded me of how difficult it was to respond to tweets in Meerkat, because you actually can’t. You need to have a separate phone or your computer screen in order to Meerkat and respond to the tweets in real-time. That’s okay, I’ve two iPhones, so I can watch myself on the Meerkat stream and comment with the other phone. At first this was a little strange (okay a lot strange) to be commenting with myself on Meerkat. I also noticed a slight anomaly with Meerkat in that I can be logged into my account at the same time on two separate devices. This could potentially allow me to game the scoring system by just sending myself a fair amount of comments or tweets.

Just like Meerkat, Periscope has its own methodology of gamification scoring through its “Most Loved” leaderboard. Basically, similar to Instagram where you can double tap a picture to heart or love, you can tap the screen of your iPhone and a beautifully designed heart will float up in the air from the bottom of the stream. The more you tap, the more hearts will start flying. The next thing you knew, I quickly tapped the scream maybe a hundred times, so yep, the leaderboard on Periscope can potentially be gamed.

As it pertains to the UI, I like the touch and feel of Periscope slightly better than Meerkat, but what Periscope lacks compared to Meerkat is the ability to put your phone in landscape mode. I found that in Meerkat, the landscape mode is easier for typing as sometimes the message gets hard to read in Meerkat while you are trying to type. Flip to landscape mode on your iPhone and this is quickly resolved.

The comments area within Periscope appeared to me to be easier to read then in Meerkat, but with some of the comments that keep flying by there isn’t a way to scroll through the comments if you don’t see a comment flying by. However, simply enable the “save my stream” function within Periscope and the stream will be saved to your camera roll. As an added bonus, all of the comments will be included in the stream, but only if you use the replay function within the Periscope app. Below you will find part of my Periscope scream, but as you can see none of the comments are included in what was saved to my camera role, yet are included when I view the replay within the app. Well played, Periscope. Well played

Well I’ll be playing around more with Periscope and Meerkat over the next several days and will be providing some additional commentary later, but for now here are a brief few observations about both Periscope and Meerkat.

Periscope:

  • Easy to Sign Up
  • Adds Twitter followers/followees
  • No ability to schedule live-streams as of yet
  • Sends out live broadcast tweets
  • Comments do not show as tweets in Twitter
  • Leaderboard appears based on love taps
  • Ability to save live-stream for replay and to camera roll
  • Portrait mode only
  • No cool nickname yet. “Periscopers” sounds a bit Peeping Tom’ish.

Meerkat:

  • Easy to Sign Up
  • Doesn’t add Twitter followers/followees
  • Ability to schedule live-streams
  • Sends out live broadcast tweet
  • Comments show as tweets in Twitter
  • Leaderboard appears to be based on comment and streams watched/started
  • Stream was saved to camera roll
  • Portrait and landscape mode for viewing/typing
  • Cool nickname: “Meerkaters”

I’m also going to make a prediction that Meerkat, given it’s growth will ultimately be acquired by Facebook, which would be a very interesting way to basically thumb their nose at Twitter’s denial of their social graph for Meerkat.

As always, I’ll give you a review and this time it’s in haiku:

Up goes Periscope.
Navigating fresh waters.
Twitter’s Open Sea(rch).