Sunday, March 29, 2015

Meerkat update adds improvements, but app still has much to fix

Meerkat-1Meerkat just delivered its first major update since going viral.
The live-streaming app promises a massive improvement, including "tons" of bug fixes and several new features, although some of these don't yet work as promised.
It seems that the update's primary focus was bug fixes and stability improvements. "It is much more stable and user friendly," Meerkat's developers promise in their release notes for the 1.1 update. They especially focused on bugs related to crashes, audio and video syncing and problems with the app's rotation.
The update also promises to add a fairly large set of new features, including new recommendations, in-app notifications, new discovery features and the ability to reshare scheduled streams. Another big improvement is the ability to turn off @replies on comments within streams; this means that users can now choose to keep their comments within Meerkat, and not share them with all of Twitter.
Meerkat update
Meerkat's updated search menu is supposed to show recommendations of who to follow. The app's update also allows you to disable replies appearing as tweets.
Image: Meerkat
However, in my testing the 1.1 update, Meerkat unfortunately falls flat on many of the other new features it promises. For example, the recommendations for new accounts to follow, which are supposed to appear in the app's search menu, do not seem to exist. And Meerkat's search seems just as buggy as ever; looking for accounts only works if you know the exact handle you want. Finally, the ability to follow new users from within streams also doesn't work, although you can see more information about individual users within streams.
Should Meerkat get these features up and running, they would go a long way toward improving the app. Fixing search and discoverability will be very important for the platform if it hopes to compete with Twitter's new live-streaming app Periscope. Meerkat was previously able to leverage Twitter's social graph for these features, but the latter subsequently pulled the former's access, thereby limiting discovery features for new users.
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