Meerkat is one of the newer social media application services available that's designed to push video feeds to your friends and follow their lives in real time. And the company has just announced an update to the application for the iPhone that is bundling in a number of Facebook integration features, including contact synchronization and the option to push live streams to your Facebook page. Meerkat explain that the ability to synchronize and integrate your address book with the service will allow users to better discover other users of the service. In the words of their blog, "We auto-magically match the people you already know with phone verification and address book integration." Certainly, integrating address books does make life easier although it can introduce some privacy concerns. This address book integration should help the Meerkat service compete against Twitter and Periscope, especially since Twitter cut Meerkat's access to its social graph feature.
The next new feature is that of the ability to push live (and upcoming) streams to Facebook, which can be a brand, business or organization's Facebook page. This means the Meerkat service can have considerably broader reach by leveraging Facebook's massive penetration: it'll be easier to tune in to a Meerkatter's stream via Facebook. Users will still be able to use a Twitter account in order to sign into Meerkat, but by broadening the social networks, in one fell swoop Meerkat have significantly opened up the service. Meerkat livestreams will able to reach many more people via multiple networks.
The next new feature is something Meerkat are calling "mobbing." This means that popular streams meeting certain criteria are automatically promoted to the application's main activity feed. And as a bonus, if your stream is mobbing, users will see a Meerkat flying around the screen in a rocket ship. And related with mobbing, another new feature is to allow users can react to their streams by turning their face into an Emoji. It's as though the humble emoji is taking over the world, but Meerkat's blog explains that this will allow users to "feel like your emotions are being projected in real-time to the person on the other side of the stream. Express your reaction and participate by commenting with a single Emoji. Then look at the top of the screen and your face will turn into the Emoji, briefly."
These new features are coming to the Apple platform first but it's a sure bet that they'll be coming to Android too. It's great to see Meerkat attempting to compete with Periscope; the application arms face is ultimately great news as it drives innovation. Nice comeback, Meerkat!