Twitter Launches Live-Streaming App Periscope

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo

The app, which allows people to share and watch live video via Twitter, was acquired by the San Francisco-based tech company in January.

Two weeks after live-streaming app Meerkat took South by Southwest by storm, Twitter has launched competitor Periscope.

Periscope enables live streaming from a mobile phone with the click of a button. The app syncs with Twitter to make it easy to follow friends and broadcast immediately to your Twitter followers.

In a blog post, the Periscope team explained that they began working on the app just over a year ago because they were "fascinated by the idea of discovering the world through someone else's eyes." Twitter acquired the company in January but waited until March 13, after Meerkat saw quick adoption, to confirm the acquisition.

Twitter vp product Kevin Weil called Periscope "a perfect complement to Twitter" in a blog post announcing the app's launch.

Although Meerkat has a head start — Hollywood players such as Jimmy Fallon, Al Roker and Ashton Kutcher already have become early adopters — Periscope, which counts Tyra Banks as an early user, has the advantage of a deep partnership with Twitter. Meanwhile, Meerkat was cut off from Twitter's social graph the same day Twitter confirmed the Periscope acquisition.

Entrepreneurs have been exploring live-video businesses for years. Twitch, the live-streaming platform for video gamers, grew out of Justin.TV and was acquired by Amazon for $970 million in August. But as smartphone manufacturers have increased the video capabilities on their devices, live streaming while on the go has become easier than ever before. And the market is heating up for such apps. Periscope was acquired for a reported $100 million and Meerkat recently raised funding from a group of investors that includes YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley, Jared Leto, Universal Music Group, Broadway Video Ventures, WME, CAA Ventures and UTA.

"What excites us most about Periscope is the power of seeing something for yourself," the Periscope team wrote in its blog post. "We watched someone rise above the Sonoma valley in a hot air balloon; we witnessed "Hands Up Don't Shoot" directly from Ferguson, Mo.; a terrifying fire that erupted in San Francisco's Mission district; and a live performance from a pianist who played any song requested from the audience."