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Twitter: Now with video uploads and group direct messaging

social media Updated: Jan 29, 2015 02:39 IST

In a bid to make its service more sticky with existing users and to attract new tweeters into the fold, the social network and micoblogging site is adding a new video feature it says will complement, rather than replace, Vine.

Vine was a little app that let people create tiny, looping six-second videos and it proved so popular that Twitter acquired it and Instagram subsequently went out and essentially copied it.

The new video feature will let users upload clips of up to 30 seconds in length that will play automatically in their timelines. Twitter says that the longer videos are needed because the Twitter of today is "rich and immersive, full of images, gifs, Vines, audio files and videos."

And with that in mind, the feature will be integrated into the Twitter smartphone app so that a video can be captured, edited and shared without straying from the app itself. What's more, iPhone users will be able to upload videos from their handset's camera roll, a feature that should be coming to Android in the near future.

Alongside the longer videos, Twitter is also adding group direct messaging so that Twitter effectively becomes a social messaging platform. Rather than being seen as a cynical attempt to cash in on the popularity of apps like WhatsApp, the new feature makes very good sense as Twitter is increasingly becoming a tool for following and conversing with people, colleagues and companies that wouldn't normally make it into your contacts book. What's more, the direct messages in question are more than likely to be directly related to what is happening on Twitter itself.

As the company's product director, Jinen Kamdar, said in an accompanying blog post on Tuesday: "Many of you use Direct Messages to reach the people and brands you're only connected to on Twitter. Whatever the case may be, the ability to converse privately with groups gives you more options for how and with whom you communicate on Twitter."