It doesn't have the brand recognition of Instagram, Snapchat or Vine, but photo and video sharing service Mobli is making potentially game-changing moves in the social media market. The company just released Mobli 4.0, a massive update that includes a live broadcast option.
Indeed, Mobli 4.0 offers significant upgrades that set the stage for users to share video streaming with followers in real-time. With that in mind, Mobli’s developers also overhauled the app to make possible faster performance -- and it’s now open to third-party developers who want to expand the platform’s features and functions.
Moshe Hogeg, Mobli founder and CEO, wasn’t shy about his aspirations in the announcement. He boldly proclaimed that the company is introducing “the beginning of a new era of live streaming.”
“This is the natural evolution of visual content sharing as we see it, enabling users not only to broadcast live, but rather to fully interact in real-time, in a complete way, with people anywhere, anytime,” Hogeg said. “Live content is our main focus for 2014 and we have a lot more to come.”
Ethics Questions May Arise
Here’s how the interactive experience works: Users just touch a button to start broadcasting live. Once live, users are sharing their real-time videos with followers. Users can also interact with their followers through comments.
We caught up with Rob Enderle, principal analyst at The Enderle Group, to get his take on a key question: Will Mobli change the face of broadcast news?
He told us as Mobli builds on this concept of citizen reporters it could push out news in progress more quickly -- but he expects it to have an even bigger impact near-term on entertainment, such as reality TV, and on publications that cover celebrities because the production quality levels in those areas are already fairly low.
“With Qualcomm aggressively moving to provide 4K video capture on phones we should have some rather interesting high resolution real-time events and privacy and ethics issues to deal with in the coming years as a result of moves like this,” Enderle said.
With this kind of resolution, he noted, you can pull out things in post-production that otherwise might not have been seen and still have a decent image. But the real concern, as he sees it, is entrapment or manufactured news. He offered a prime example: Donald Sterling.
“The Donald Sterling event wasn't an accidental capture. He was clearly set up by the woman that taped him and it turned into a massive news story with national coverage worth millions to news organizations in ad revenue,” Enderle said. “The ethics of manufacturing news will likely be sorely tested in the coming years and, given history, I doubt those on the wrong side of this will be pleased.”
What Else Is New?
On top of the headline-making feature, Mobli 4.0 also has an updated design that the company said is more intuitive and offers a smoother end-user experience. The company also built a new HTML 5-powered Web site. The site will launch on May 30.
Mobli is also planning an international expansion. Over the past months, the company said it has partnered with the likes of Vic Lee, Carlos Slim and Kenges Rakishev, as part of its international expansion strategy.
Lee is a co-founder of Chinese Internet giant Tencent. Slim is a Mexican business magnate, investor and philanthropist who ranked as the richest person in the world until Microsoft's Bill Gates dethroned him in 2013. Forbes ranked Rakishev one of the most influential people in Kazakhstan. When Mobli launched in 2011, actor Leonardo DiCaprio gave the company a shout out.