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Qik gets slick with public beta, new features

The mobile video-streaming site has opened up its registration, created Facebook and MySpace apps, and is looking forward to more growth.

It's public beta time for Qik, the mobile live-video service that's captured the hearts of Web 2.0 bigwigs like Jason Calacanis and Kevin Rose. The service has been in private beta since late last year.

Along with its debut to the masses, Qik has made some tweaks: technological improvements mean that video has a lag time of only half a second to three seconds now, for example. "Groups" and "Events" features have been added to the mix, and the company has also announced that members no longer need a compatible phone to register for the service, though they'll still need a phone number to confirm their accounts.

"We've been working hard to maintain Qik's position as the world's leading mobile streaming service," CEO Ramu Sunkara said in a release. "Even if your particular phone model is still in the works, you can still sign up to participate in the Qik community, and as we roll out support for your phone, you'll be able to easily transition to streaming live as soon as it's available."

Requiring a phone number for accounts, Sunkara explained to CNET News, helps to cut down on one of the inevitable problems facing a streaming-video site: porn.

In addition, Qik has expanded its hardware reach and added more compatible handsets to the list of Windows Mobile and Symbian devices it currently supports. New additions from Samsung and Motorola bring the total count to nearly 30.

And its Web reach has broadened, too: Qik applications are now available for social networks Facebook, MySpace, and Orkut.