Meerkat just got a little perkier, as the battle of the live-video-streaming apps rages on. Meerkat, the startup that launched its app in March, added a few new features -- not yet available on Twitter-owned competitor Periscope -- in a recent update.

On Meerkat, users can now start a live poll with their viewers. It has been common for live-streamers to ask their viewers for suggestions on what to do -- whether it be an official trivia challenge, a truth-or-dare or just gauging interest in the content. For example, a musician could poll viewers on what song to play next. Previously, Meerkat streams would have to scan through the live comments that are overlaid on the video, which can be overwhelming if hundreds of people are watching and participating.

“That means you can write ‘poll, space,’ and then whatever question you want,” Meerkat CEO Ben Rubin said in his announcement, according to VentureBeat.

The app update also added live hashtags. Meerkat users can create a hashtag related to their stream and then users can see what hashtags are trending and also search for specific hashtags on the app. This change not only helps Meerkat users identify what types of conversations are trending but also improves search on the app -- something that was previously limited to the most popular streams and most-followed users.

Lastly, Meerkat introduced a photo-sharing feature called "Show & Tell." Now, Meerkat streamers can select videos from their smartphone's camera roll that will then display during the broadcast, the company's announcement reads. 

 

 

 

These three updates each differ in what Twitter-owned Periscope has to offer broadcasters. Both apps have been competing for users as they work to improve their live video products. Periscope, which was acquired by Twitter in January, has been coming out on top in terms of downloads. Yet, some celebrities, such as U2 and Al Roker, have taken a liking to Meerkat. The startup has financial backing from Lorne Michaels' Broadway Ventures and talent agency CAA.

Other companies have also taken note of the popularity of live video streaming. In August, social networking giant Facebook introduced "Facebook Live" -- a live video streaming option on its app. The feature is only available to a select number of celebrity users, however. YouNow has gained interest for its interactive video app, where selected partners can pull revenue from virtual tipping jars.