Social networks rise and fall everyday. Video streaming apps come and go. Every now and then there is a service that tries to be both. That is where Meerkat comes in. While I suppose calling Meerkat its own social network may be a bit of a stretch since they do require a Twitter account to use the service, it is more of a Twitter add on. The whole point of Meerkat is to steam video instantly and quickly, while allowing twitter to act as the commenting system, comments in the stream show up on Twitter just like normal. The set up is super quick, once you log in you can just hit stream and you are instantly live from your camera to anyone who may be watching.
The interface is the biggest strength of this little startup. It is simple and easy, and about as minimal as it can be. You simply start it up and hit stream. They recently updated so you have the ability to search for people and see who is live now, but still have kept the interface very easy to understand. When you are streaming there are little profile pictures overlaid in a line to show you who is watching, and comments show up toward that bottom.
Meerkat may be on the upswing right now, some of which seems to just be right place, right time, but that might start slowing down now. Twitter just bought an unreleased competitor called Periscope and cut off Meerkat’s access to its backbone, making it harder to find your friends. This may not be that bad for Meerkat though, the basis of the service seems to be being on Twitter at the right time when someone goes live, if not you miss the stream and there is no recording.
Will Meerkat survive past the next month or two? Will they be more than just the current fad in the tech space? It is hard to say, if they want to continue on they will need to get to Android as well since they are currently only on iOS. No matter what happens, it is fun to play with for now.
Check it out on iOS here.