Periscope Now Drops Live Video Into Your Twitter Timeline
If you’re paying attention this morning, you’ll notice something new in your Twitter app for iOS. Instead of seeing a link every time someone you follow starts a broadcast on Periscope, you’ll see that broadcast, live, right in your timeline. Soon, you’ll see it in Twitter’s apps for other platforms too. In Twitter’s quest to be what you might call The Right Now Network—the place where everyone goes to see what’s happening at this exact second—what better way than by showing you live video in the stream?
Closer integration between Periscope and Twitter has been a long time coming. When Periscope CEO Keyvan Bekpour first sat down with Twitter’s Dick Costolo and Jack Dorsey to talk about an acquisition, they started talking about all the things they could do better as compatriots in a single company, rather than as partners. This was the first thing they talked about: integrating streams into Twitter, so many more people could see and easily watch them.
For now, the integration doesn’t let you heart or comment on streams—for that, you’ll have to tap the “Open Periscope to Chat” button at the top of every stream. You can retweet, like, or reply, just like you can with any other tweet. It feels like more of a Twitter feature than a Periscope one, really, save for the red badge in the bottom left corner that says “Live” and the running viewer count. That’s part of the point, says Aaron Wasserman, Periscope’s iOS developer. “We haven’t explicitly decided that we don’t want to do [hearts and comments], but for us a really important place to start, a really important focal point, was making it really easy. No account needed, you don’t have to download the app, you can have never heard of Periscope and as quickly as possible experience it.” There’s lots more they can and will do, says Beykpour, but they wanted to start small.
In theory, showing up natively on Twitter opens up an enormous new audience of viewers for broadcasters. Rather than make people download an app and create a login, or even just click a link and wait for a browser page to load, hundreds of millions of Twitter users can just see the stream. There is no step two anymore. That means the sorts of viral moments Periscope users capture can spread even faster. Take, for example, the puddle in Newcastle upon Tyne, in the north of England, which more than half a million people watched together as #DrummondPuddleWatch took over Twitter. “That really went viral through Twitter,” says Sarah Haider, Periscope’s engineering lead. “If you can imagine having the integration at the time, even more people would have been able to watch, even if they didn’t know what Periscope is. That was a really cool moment for us, seeing what the advantage of Twitter can be.”
Periscope is also announcing today that it has hosted more than 100 million broadcasts since it launched in March. It’s already become a part of the news process, too: Millions watched the aftermath of the Paris massacres on the platform, for one. It’s a fun, weird, decidedly real platform that has found its way even with competition from Facebook, Ustream, and many others. Beykpour says there’s a lot of integration left to do, a lot more that Twitter and Periscope have to offer one another. Even now, though, live video makes Twitter feel a little fresher. A little more intimate. A little more right now.