While Facebook Live continues to make inroads on live-streaming, and YouTube looks to add their own live-stream specific app into the mix, another platform that's continuing to carve its own niche is Blab. Blab's slightly different in that the focus is on group conversation, as opposed to one-to-many broadcasting. This makes the platform more approachable for those who aren't overly comfortable flying solo in front of the camera - and given that some 97% of Periscope users are watchers only, it's pretty clear that most people fall into that category.
Blab eases the pressure by giving you the chance to participate with up to three other people - and while the company's working on different innovations, along with approaches to try and combat the common live-streaming 'signal-to-noise' issues, Blab has a dedicated fan base, and what it provides is unmatched, at least at this stage of the game.
One of the most endearing elements of Blab is the company's responsiveness to its user community. They've added in a range of interesting features in response to user demand - just recently, for example, they've added in things like audience maps, showing where people are turning in from, a share button that creates a video clip of the last 30 seconds of your Blab which you can quickly upload and share via Twitter and Facebook, and a new way to embed Blab content on your website in a non-intrusive way.
And now, Blab's announced a new, and significant, update which could help boost the utility of the platform and make it more appealing to more users.
Via a new post on their official blog, Blab's announced two new features. The first is Dropins.
Dropins enables you to share a link in an empty seat on your Blab. It works like this:
Basically, you can enter a link to virtually any media on the web and it'll show up in one of the four seats of your Blab. The Blab crew showcased this recently with an NCAA March Madness watch party.
But here's the really cool thing for marketing types - if you've uploaded a presentation to SlideShare, you can use that as a link and conduct presentations via Blab. Here's an example of how it looks as a host.
As you can see, I can skip through the slides and add in up to two more users to join the chat. I could also upload my latest blog post, for example, and talk about that. And anyone can join in and watch, if your Blab's public.
For those who've used Blab before, you'll note that I just said 'if'. That's right, the other, excellent addition Blab has announced is 'Unlisted Blabs'
Via unlisted Blabs you can invite whomever you want, using a link, but the broadcast itself isn't listed on the site, so no one else can join but the people you want. This is great for those looking to conduct private meetings or information sessions, or even host webinars using Blab's user-friendly interface. I personally know of several people who've been looking for this functionality, and by giving people a way to conduct Blab's privately - to practice live-streaming and test it out - you might actually get more people broadcasting more often, and eventually in public, once they feel confident about their skills as a presenter.
Of course, this functionality has pretty much existed in Google Hangouts or apps like GoToWebinar for some time, but Blab's user experience features make it particularly appealing. It's easy to use, easy to join, and you have all the controls you'd have in those other sites, and more.
These are helpful, intuitive additions to Blab, and will no doubt prove popular amongst users, old and new alike. If you've never considered Blab, it might be worth a look, and if you've checked it out before but not gone back, it might be time to give it another shot. Where live-streaming goes from here, no one knows for sure, but one thing is certain - the functionality, whether it's through Periscope, Blab, Facebook or something else, is not going away. If you can use it to help promote your brand, and work with the ever-expanding video trend, you definitely should - and Blab's new features might make it easier for you to do just that.