Meerkat introduces live streaming straight from GoPro cameras

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Jim MacMillan

Independent Journalist at jimmacmillan.com
I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
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This feels like the first big breakthrough for live-streaming from a remote camera:Meerkat introduces live streaming straight from GoPro cameras

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Aggregated Meerkat streams. Tweet all about it.

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Jim MacMillan

Independent Journalist at jimmacmillan.com
I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
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Meerkatstreams.com is a site that aggregates live and scheduled streams into one central location. The site was built to enhance the experience around viewing live streaming video. Simple.

NEW! Record upcoming streams with their Live Video Recorder™ (LVR). Learn More.

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Meerkat Map uses app’s API to show streams around the world

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Jim MacMillan

Independent Journalist at jimmacmillan.com
I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
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“Global view… shows you where people are streaming, so you can hop in and peek at a world different from yours.” –thenextweb

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Meerkat makes it easy to embed streams on your site

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Jim MacMillan

Independent Journalist at jimmacmillan.com
I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
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In case you’re not familiar with embedding, it is the very simple process of using a tool to generate and copy code which you can then paste into blog posts and other platforms, in order to display multimedia content.

This is how most of the inline YouTube videos, tweets, SlideShare and other presentations you see wind up on many sites, but you don’t even need to read the code you are posting.

And Meerkat just beat Periscope to the punch on this critical service, which many of us have been eagerly awaiting. A page on the Meerkat website walks you through the process:

The embedded player is smart. It will show your live stream if you’re live. If you’re not live, if will show your next upcoming stream. If you have no upcoming streams, it will display stats from your last stream. If you have not streamed yet, it will show your profile.

Users can pick from three sizes, upload a cover image, and have the option to allow or disallow comments on the embeddable player, according to theverge.com.

Supporting embedment is important because “it allows video publishers to keep traffic on their own websites,” recode.net explains. Previously, viewers had to click through from the direct link or watch via the Meerkat app, according to thenextweb.com.

As mashable.com explains: “The move could help (Meerkat) broaden its reach and differentiate itself from Periscope, a similar service owned by Twitter.”

Meanwhile, Meerkat is not disclosing active users but says May was their highest traffic month — more than tripling March levels — according to techcrunch.com.

Update: Now there is a plugin available, which makes it even easier for WordPress users to embed Meerkat streams.

Variety reports on how Meerkat partnered with Shark Week on the Discovery Channel to introduce the embedding service:

Discovery Channel Debuts Meerkat’s New Embed Feature for ‘Shark Week’

Here is a comprehensive video tutorial in the Meerkat embedding process:

Photo at top of post: One of two resident male whale sharks in the Georgia Aquarium in the United States. Photo Zac Wolf, used in accordance with Creative Commons licensing.

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Imagine live-streaming mobile video from Facebook — or just start using Meerkat

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Jim MacMillan

Independent Journalist at jimmacmillan.com
I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
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Both Meerkat and Periscope introduced app updates with new functions this week, but Facebook could make all the difference.

A comprehensive wrap from techcrunch.com  explains that Meerkat 1.5 now includes: “the ability to sign up on the platform through Facebook instead of Twitter,” and as Forbes noted:

“Meerkat’s larger presence on Facebook could help the social network to test how much its 1.44 billion monthly active users want to see and share live videos on the platform.”

“The most innovative new feature is “Cameo,” which lets you (consensually) hijack someone else’s Meerkat stream for up to 60 seconds,” according to businessinsider.com, adding that: “This collaborative tool brings some of the fun of services like Chatroulette to Meerkat, without the creepy invasiveness.”

And according to thenextweb.com: “It’s also a killer feature for Meerkat; one Periscope doesn’t have, and won’t be able to duplicate without scrutiny from users.”

Meerkat “is also rolling out a beta version of Meerkat Library that allows users to save their live-streams directly to their own personal Meerkat library as opposed to saving it to a third-party service like YouTube or a phones camera roll,” according to knowtechie.com.

Mashable reports that: “To kick off the launch, Meerkat is partnering with The Weather Channel, TMZ, Fox, The CW, Mastercard and Champion League Sports.”

The update is available now in Apple’s App Store, according to technobuffalo.com, adding that the Android app was also updated on Wednesday, “but there’s no mention of any of these new features.”

Meanwhile: Periscope 1.1.2 goes live

With the latest Periscope update: “When you block someone’s message within a livestream, that message will appear as blocked to you only,” according to thenextweb.com, which continues: “The app also introduces some helpful housekeeping issues, including a way to get rid of the keyboard without accidentally ending your broadcast, the ability to edit your full name, and a clearer sign-in process.”

And as slashgear.com noted: “In this update your username is – get ready for this – viewable from your profile. At last!”

Now, let me know when somebody enables easy embedding.

 

Photo at top: Meerkats by sharpphotography.co.uk, via Wikimedia Commons and used in accordance with Creative Commons licensing.

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Searching for video apps: Interest spikes around updates and live events

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Jim MacMillan

Independent Journalist at jimmacmillan.com
I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
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Periscope has maintained a significant lead over Meerkat in Google search popularity since the app was first launched earlier this spring, according to results from Google Trends.


Although we can’t be certain what users were seeking, previous comparable flatlines indicate that recent searches have coincided with the release of the new mobile video applications.

Search volume spiked when app upgrades were released and then again last week when Periscope was first made available for Android users.

The greatest spike followed the recent Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, when streaming video users redistributed the event to others at no cost.

You can go to the graph and add other search terms for comparison.

As Google explains: The numbers on the graph reflect how many searches have been done for a particular term, relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time.

Google Trends also finds the greatest interest in Periscope coming from Turkey and Italy, while the United Kingdom tops the list for Meerkat searchers. San Francisco is the leading American city on the list.

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Want to stream you life horizontally? There’s an app for that!

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Jim MacMillan

Independent Journalist at jimmacmillan.com
I am a solutions-oriented independent multimedia journalist, based in Philadelphia.
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Above and below: Roller skaters check out opening night at the RiverRink in Philadelphia. I grabbed these moments from my stre.am broadcast.

I like vertical videos and I am not alone. “Vertical videos are here to stay,” according to engadget.com. And digiday.com says: “It’s time to take vertical video seriously.”

There’s even a new app called Verdid, which journalism.co.uk says is setting out to become the “YouTube of vertical videos.”

And as I said in one of my earlier posts, watching Periscope streams on my big screen at home left me wishing that I had my TV mounted vertically.

3But of course I do not. Cable and satellite signals and just about everything else come in horizontally. And more than a century of Hollywood movies would have to be drastically cropped or downsized for viewing on vertical screens.

And there are lots of reasons to continue producing horizontal videos. Verticals still look ridiculously compromised on YouTube and on broadcast TV.

Citizen journalists using vertical video might find themselves starting with one strike against them if they want to make sales to news organizations, and will certainly be at a disadvantage if another producer has the same content in horizontal format.

Fortunately, we have stre.am, or #streamwithadot, which promises to help you “Share you world.”

streamI glanced at the app while gathering information for my first post on this site last month, but with much of the news coverage focused on competition between Periscope and Meerkat, I kind of forgot about the third option until one of their staffers reached out to me on Twitter last week.

That’s when I finally tried sending a test stream with the app, and guess what? It’s horizontal!

So, when I went down to the Delaware River to check out Philadelphia’s new roller rink last weekend — and found decidedly horizontal visuals — I decided to give stre.am a try in the field.

And I loved it for lots of reasons:

• First of all, the app saved a clean horizontal copy of my stream to my iPhone’s Camera Roll. I’m a journalist and producing horizontals just makes more sense for me.

• And stre.am enables easy Twitter AND Facebook sharing at launch.

• Tapping an aperture icon while streaming captures clean still photos to your camera roll, although there seemed to be a brief delay in the process. (I can do the same on Periscope by clicking my iPhone’s home and power buttons simultaneously, but that will also capture the hearts and comments. And sometimes I inadvertently put the phone to sleep if I get those keystrokes out of sync.)

• Finally, you can also post text comments while streaming, which can be helpful if you want to communicate while covering an event such as the solemn Ride of Silence, which left me whispering while Periscoping last week.

There’s one big problem but there’s a solution in the works and some pretty cool alternatives in place already.

• Unfortunately, you can’t yet title your stre.am stream before broadcasting; so, your tweet and Facebook shares will leave your friends and followers wondering. However, two stre.am staffers have promised me that will change in an upcoming version.

UPDATE: Stre.am CTO Jeremy Martin tells me they: “just submitted a new build with titles to the App Store today!”

Meanwhile, you can share more deliberately once your stream is underway:

• While you’re live, the top left menu displays your stream’s duration, likes and the number of current viewers. But if you tap the tiny icon in the top left corner, it opens a vertical menu with more options.

• There, you can turn on the flashlight or switch to your front camera but you can also craft and send a more precise tweet or Facebook post while maintaining the stream. You can also send a text or an email.

Some other observations:

• Viewer count compared favorably with my engagement on Periscope, but almost nobody commented. This could be due to any number of reasons but I am suspecting it may result from the fact that viewers need to tap a bubble icon before they see the comments.

• You can “Like” a stream by clicking a thumbs-up icon. It’s a lot more subtle than pouring your hearts out on Periscope but time will tell what users prefer.

• Instead of streaming, you can also opt to record a video clip for your “reel,” which will be attached to your profile for 24 hours. I haven’t figured out the point of this process but I will give it a try soon.

Tweeted streams seem rare; so, I have not been able to establish whether live web viewing is possible.

Update: Another stre.am staffer messaged me to confirm that live web viewing is possible.

Of course you can also rotate your device horizontally while streaming on Periscope, but the comments and hearts will display sideways.

Stre.am reminds you that your “Portrait Orientation Lock” must be off when using their app horizontally. Otherwise, it warns that you will be creating a “sideways experience” for your viewers and implores you: “Don’t be that person.”

Finally, since none of the new streaming mobile video apps presently enable embedding, I have been experimenting with capturing streams from my screen and redistributing them via Ustream, which produces an embed code but also sends out video in a horizontal box like we get when using YouTube. Stre.am solves that problem too.

Have you tried stre.am? What do you think?

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