Your Complete Cheat Sheet to Periscope, Twitter’s New Video-Streaming App

If you’ve ever used buzzy live-streaming video app, Meerkat, you’ll probably want to test out Periscope, Twitter’s new live-streaming service that allows you to broadcast whatever you’re doing, in real time. On video.

You might have heard rumblings about Periscope—Twitter acquired the company in January—but it officially launched today, and tech insiders are pretty much geeking out. If you—like 95% of the world—are still wondering exactly what the big deal is, here are the seven facts you need to know in order to understand Periscope.

  • Periscope arrives today on iPhone, with streams also viewable on the web. An Android version is in the works, so sit tight Samsung loyals.
  • When they say “live-streaming” they mean it. Account holders can literally tap a couple of times and broadcast themselves making breakfast, exercising at the gym, picking out an outfit, or at a party. This is also what Meerkat offers.
  • Unlike Meerkat, Perisope lets users save streams so they can be replayed later. This might not sound like a big deal, but one of the downsides to Meerkat, Periscope’s closest competitor, is that streams are frequently finished by the time users discovered the link to watch–annoying. Introducing a saved stream function avoids that problem for Periscope fans.
  • Twitter reportedly acquired Periscope in January this year for $100 million. They products are similar in that both offer a mostly live, digital experience, but that’s where alikeness between the apps stop.
  • It’s free.
  • Users watching live streams can engage with the broadcaster by sending “hearts” to them. Viewers can send an infinite number of hearts to the person recording the video, which will appear simultaneously on their screen and the rest of the audience’s. Sounds like a minor detail, but this feedback lets the video broadcaster know if the audience is digging what they’re doing, in real time. In the most popular streams hearts will pop up continuously in the corner of the screen throughout the video, kind of like the digital version of a standing ovation.
  • Right now you can’t open Periscope through the Twitter app, you will need to download it separately here.

Have you tried Periscope yet? How do you think it compares to Meerkat? Let us know in the comments below.

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