Don’t count Meerkat out of the live streaming race just yet. The independent company may be struggling to keep up with Periscope, its Twitter-backed rival, but the small app is returning fire with some help from an even bigger social network.
Meerkat announced on Sunday that it’s adding Facebook support as it continues to reduce its dependence on Twitter. Moving forward, you’ll be able to log into the app using your Facebook account and share your live streams straight to the News Feed. You can even connect with people in your phone’s contacts list on Meerkat thanks to the new update.
The company also introduced a few new features to improve the Meerkat experience. For streamers, a new “mobbing” feature will let you know when your video goes viral, displaying a cute rocket ship animation and making the stream more visible in the app’s main feed. Meanwhile, viewers can briefly swap their faces with emoji to quickly comment on a video.
Overall the new Meerkat sounds pretty nice, though the app may still need a total redesign if it wants to compete with the more polished Periscope. Then again, the smaller company already has a pretty big advantage after launching on Android first last week. These new features could help keep at least some of those new users around even after Periscope expands to Android as well.