periscope

Twitter has updated its recently released live video streaming app Periscope, with the ability to sign up for the service without a Twitter account, reports The Verge. New users will now be able to sign up for the app using their phone numbers instead.

Other than this, the new features include the ability to pick a profile picture from the gallery, allowing users to tap a comment to reply and marking comments where the user is mentioned with arrows. Additionally, when broadcaster blocks a participant, a message indicating the block is posted to the chat room. This, according to Twitter, is important to promote transparency.

Twitter had earlier purchased Periscope in January for an undisclosed amount, although a Cnet report from yesterday indicates the company might have spent $86 million to acquire Periscope. Subsequently, Twitter launched the video streaming app in March with a Twitter integrated login. The current move to remove such a login will help Twitter get onboard users without a Twitter account, although users will still require a phone number.

Note that Periscope competes with Meerkat, which launched before Periscope and let users share live streams with Twitter followers. Users could even import accounts they followed on Twitter, and those who followed them without having to do it manually. However, around a week after Twitter announced its acquisition of Periscope in March, it started blocking Meerkat from accessing its ‘social graph’ thereby blocking the contact import feature.

Twitter seems to be increasingly focusing on video: It had introduced a video capture & share feature on its platform a couple of months back, which allowed users to capture, edit and upload clips of up to 30 seconds on their timeline. Users also had the option of previewing the recorded video before posting. The company also owns the 6 second video platform Vine, which it purchased in October 2012.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo had mentioned during the company’s Q4 2014 earnings conference call that Twitter video was created to provide users the same instantaneous experience with videos that they have with tweets. The simplicity of the capture and share capability was a priority. He had also mentioned that the professional video tools available on Twitter are targeted towards not just brands/marketers but also towards users and content creators who want to monetize their content and are looking to distribute videos longer than 30 seconds on the platform.

Image source: Flickr user Anthony Quintano