Drop everything and download: Skeegle

Live broadcast apps Meerkat and Periscope get a Facebook-friendly new competitor

The world, it seems, is going mad for live broadcast video apps. First it was Meerkat wowing the young technocrats at SXSW, then Periscope came along, leveraging its Twitter integration to offer something brilliantly immediate.

Now another challenger has joined the fray: Skeegle.

Owned and developed by phone network EE and available now, Skeegle offers one big difference from its rivals: Facebook integration. That means that, rather than broadcasting to any and everyone with an internet connection, you can keep things a little more personal, sharing live videos with only your close contacts (assuming you’re not one of those ultra-popular people with 3,500 Facebook friends, of course).

Videos are broadcast via a web page which, depending on your settings, will auto-post on your Facebook page as soon as you begin recording. You can, of course, share the link with non-Facebook users, but the idea is that you always have control over who’s watching. You can make your own sharing groups based on your phone’s address book and Facebook friends lists, and select who sees your broadcasts by toggling these groups on and off.

The app itself is delightfully clean and simple, and setting up an account takes no more than a minute. There is only a handful of controls: a button to start recording; a button to stop; a button to take you to the contacts management page; and one to open up the catch up page, essentially an archive of old broadcasts (yes, unlike Meerkat, old videos aren’t just spirited away into the ether once the broadcast ends).

When filming, you are forced to use the landscape mode, which means you won’t cause uproar among right-thinking friends for videoing in portrait style. Nice one, EE. Video controls are limited to a stop/start button, while tapping an area of the screen will focus on objects there, and meter accordingly. Again, the focus is on simplicity.

Video broadcasts are designed with 4G in mind, so when filming you’ll want to be either in an area with good mobile coverage or connected to somebody’s Wi-Fi. There’s a delay (we’d estimate it at around 30 seconds) but footage seems sufficiently clear and smooth. It’s not full HD loveliness at all times, of course, and sometimes frame rate and quality does degrade, but that’s to be expected with such a bandwidth-hungry technology.

You’ll need a UK phone number and Facebook account to set up a Skeegle profile, but the app itself is free and available now on both iOS and Android. EE is promising more functionality in future updates, including the live stream scheduling, in-app communication and location-based services.