Snapchat Releasing New Tools: Group Video Chats, Mentions

Snapchat is making moves to become more conversational, more “sticky,” and to keep users engaged for longer periods of time, according to Variety. The social sharing company announced a new chat feature that allows up to 16 users to video chat through its app, and added mentions to its Snapchat Stories, allowing users to easily tag others (much like they would via Twitter). The chat feature will roll out across the globe this week and will come with filters and the ability to join by audio only as desired. Users can also reply via text messages.

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Tumblr Explores a New Direction with Video Chat App Cabana

In a first for Yahoo-owned Tumblr, the blogging platform is launching a group video chat app it has named Cabana. The new app — available now on iOS and coming to Android next month — enables video chat for up to six users who can also stream YouTube video content while chatting. Blogging remains the company’s primary focus, but Cabana represents the first communication app it has developed. Tumblr is “not pivoting, but definitely exploring a new direction here,” said founder/CEO David Karp. “The idea is similar to Houseparty, the app from the company behind former live-streaming darling Meerkat,” notes Recode, and “similar to Airtime, Sean Parker’s chat startup that was revived a year ago.” Continue reading Tumblr Explores a New Direction with Video Chat App Cabana

YouTube Aims to Be Mobile Platform for Live Video Streaming

Google’s YouTube has debuted live video recording from its mobile app for creators with at least 10,000 subscribers. Super Chat, which lets viewers pay to move their comments up in the stream, is also now out of beta. These moves will impact creators in 20 countries, and viewers in 40 countries. Six months ago, Google first offered live recording to a handful of users, including Unbox Therapy founder Lewis Hilsenteger and athlete Ben Brown. Product managers Barbara Macdonald and Kurt Wilms say the feature will have a wider rollout later. Continue reading YouTube Aims to Be Mobile Platform for Live Video Streaming

Facebook Amps Up Visuals with Group Video Chat and Masks

After adding a new camera to its messaging app Messenger, Facebook is now enabling group video chatting, with support for up to six different users at the same time. The move fits in with Facebook’s strategy of emphasizing videos and photos, and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s statement on the company’s November earnings call that, “soon, we believe a camera will be the main way we share.” That may be good for Messenger users, but a challenge to several video-messaging apps just receiving venture capital infusions. Continue reading Facebook Amps Up Visuals with Group Video Chat and Masks

One Million Friends Video-Chatting with New Houseparty App

Life on Air, whose Meerkat debuted at South by Southwest last year and put live streaming on the map, introduced Houseparty, an iOS and Android app for video chatting with friends. Dubbed a “synchronous social network” by the company, the app has operated under the radar for 10 months and now boasts nearly one million users. The question now is if the company can maintain the momentum or whether it will suffer a repeat of its experience in introducing a new sensation — and then losing ground to more sophisticated competitors. Continue reading One Million Friends Video-Chatting with New Houseparty App

Facebook Live Partners with Broadcast, Aims to Share Profits

Since Facebook rolled out Live to everyone in December, it’s quickly built momentum, distinguishing itself from YouTube and other video platforms, and building a massive audience. Although Facebook had to overcome a range of technical challenges to enable hundreds of thousands of phones to stream at the same time, it used its expertise and engineering capacity to do so. Now, Facebook is encouraging celebrities and broadcasters to create Live content, and is also working on a business model to share eventual revenues. Continue reading Facebook Live Partners with Broadcast, Aims to Share Profits

Meerkat Shifting From Livestreaming to Video Social Network

Just as Facebook and Twitter are doubling down on livestreaming video, Meerkat, the startup whose livestreaming app was a hit at last year’s SXSW Festival in Austin, is changing course. Chief executive Ben Rubin, who began to realize over a year ago that livestreaming wouldn’t produce the results to succeed, emailed the company’s 48 investors to explain the company’s pivot from mobile broadcast video towards video social networking. Most of the investors, he says, are supportive of the shift. Continue reading Meerkat Shifting From Livestreaming to Video Social Network

GoPro Partners with Periscope to Livestream Extreme Video

Periscope users can now live stream video from their GoPro Hero4 camera by toggling a button in Periscope’s iOS app. GoPro cameras are popular for drone videography and recording extreme sports, both of which might be able to draw new live streaming viewers. Many of those viewers are on Twitter, the social media platform that plays Periscope live streams directly in its timeline. This new partnership may bring new sales to GoPro and new users to Periscope and Twitter. Continue reading GoPro Partners with Periscope to Livestream Extreme Video

Predicting the Five Biggest Changes in Social Media This Year

A look back at 2015 reveals memorable trends in social media: the birth of live social streaming, with Periscope and Meerkat winning over early adopters; the growth of Snapchat, with its more than 200 million active users; and video, with Facebook users logging about 8 billion video views a day (possibly even more than on YouTube). Looking ahead to 2016, it appears that new technologies will change how we interact with social media, creating new options for everything from shopping to sharing real-time experiences. Continue reading Predicting the Five Biggest Changes in Social Media This Year

Facebook Now Offers Live Video to Group of U.S. iPhone Users

Facebook is introducing its tool for sharing live video to a small group of U.S. iPhone users, four months after it was initially debuted by several celebrities and public figures. It differs from its closest competitors, Meerkat and Twitter’s Periscope and Meerkat, in that the videos are only available to a small group of approved viewers, and replay videos are automatically saved and permanently visible. Facebook positions its video feed as ideal for personal and family events, rather than the breaking news featured on other sites. Continue reading Facebook Now Offers Live Video to Group of U.S. iPhone Users

Users Embrace Live Mobile Video, Data Plan Overages Grow

Live mobile video has exploded in the last few months, with offerings from Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and others. Mobile users have quickly caught on to how they can use live video, from concerts to personal rants. But the Achilles heel, however, is that live video uses a tremendous amount of data and, the immediacy of live video encourages users to go live without a Wi-Fi network handy. The result is that an increasing number of mobile users are going over their data plan, incurring extra charges. Continue reading Users Embrace Live Mobile Video, Data Plan Overages Grow

Twitter and Facebook Widen Streaming Video Gap with Meerkat

Real-time streaming video has been the focus of several companies in recent months, and now bigger players Twitter and Facebook seem to be decisively pulling ahead of independent player Meerkat. Or not, says Meerkat founder Ben Rubin, who disputes the measurement criteria. What we do know is that Twitter’s live video app Periscope now boasts 10 million total accounts, while Meerkat, in May, reported two million accounts. Live video is still, however, a very small percentage of all consumer video on the Internet. Continue reading Twitter and Facebook Widen Streaming Video Gap with Meerkat

Facebook Live Broadcasting to Open Soon for Verified Profiles

Facebook is about to become a bigger competitor to Twitter-owned Periscope as it begins to offer wider access to the VIP-only Facebook app Mentions and Facebook Live. Up until now, Facebook Live — which allows a broadcaster to start a live video stream immediately, which users can watch in real-time and comment on — has only been available to a handful of high-profile individuals. Previously, Facebook has been circumspect when asked about when more people would have access to Live, which launched on August 4. Continue reading Facebook Live Broadcasting to Open Soon for Verified Profiles

Facebook Rolls Out Live Streaming Video Feature for Celebs

Facebook has been developing a tool that would enable public figures to broadcast live to their fans. The social network launched “Live” this week, as a feature in its Mentions app exclusively available to celebrities with verified Pages. The launch kicked off with streams from stars such as Luke Bryan, The Rock and Serena Williams. It is not known whether the feature will be made available to ordinary users to compete with the likes of Periscope and Meerkat, but the company plans to gather feedback from celebs and viewers to “evolve the product.” Continue reading Facebook Rolls Out Live Streaming Video Feature for Celebs

New Meerkat Feature Makes Real-Time Video More Interactive

Meerkat has launched a new real-time video feature called Cameo that allows users to invite friends on the mobile app to take over their live streams. The new feature could lead to an interesting opportunity for brands to work with celebrities and social influencers. For example, a company such as Red Bull could promote upcoming livestreams with their sponsored extreme-sports athletes. Fox, Hulu, MasterCard, Southwest Airlines and The Weather Channel are among those already signed up to use Cameo. Continue reading New Meerkat Feature Makes Real-Time Video More Interactive

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