Updated on 11/20/08 to correct details about Qik's social uploads.
Last week I learned of mobile video-broadcasting application Bambuser. Since then, I've compared it side-by-side with its direct competitor, Qik. The similarities between the two are more than skin deep: both turn the cell phone's camera into a live recorder and stream the video online, both allow viewers to chat with the videographer by flashing the message on the screen, and both are currently in development mode. They also both let you integrate with Twitter, Pownce, and a variety of other social networks.
While Qik, in beta, comes out the clear winner in interface, features, privacy, and performance, Bambuser, in alpha, offers two reasons to keep paying attention: geotagging and support for Web cams.
Qik is more sophisticated application overall, but Bambuser can automatically geotag videos from Symbian phones or manually place you on a map online if you're using Windows Mobile.
In addition to harnessing the phone's camera, Bambuser can also configure your Web cam to stream your video live if your subject or stage is stationary--a litter of puppies, for instance, or your own face.
Qik has the better product and handset reach, but it could stand to learn from Bambuser's flexibility. They could both work on expanding their mobile applications to make it easier to publish videos to a variety of outside sources (like Facebook, the elephant in the room), and to add greater context both before and after streaming the video. I'm thinking of something along the lines of Juicecaster's rich photo- and video-sharing service, which wouldn't stray from the livecasting that makes these apps so ripe for generating instant newscasts and fly-on-the-wall videos.