Twitter’s live-streaming app Periscope got a few updates on Monday, making it lot easier to use for those not already locked into the Twitter ecosystem.
Now you can use your phone number to sign up for Periscope, with no need for a Twitter account at all.
The version 1.0.4 update, detailed in this post on Medium, also adds the ability to reply directly to comments in Periscope chats — a change that could vastly improve the app’s social interaction features.
And because not all Periscope users are always on their best behavior, the app will now notify all users watching when a user has been blocked — effectively calling out any trolls on a particular stream.
Finally, the update allows a user to change her avatar. You can use any image in your camera roll, or you have the option to take a new photo.
Taken together, the updates indicate that Twitter is looking to aggressively grow the app’s footprint beyond the wordy confines of its text-based platform. The strategy is particularly interesting considering Meerkat’s recent update, which also reduced its reliance on Twitter.
With both live-streaming apps moving away from Twitter dependence, their growth will likely be more affected by user experience and service reliability than ever before.