Twitter announced today that it is adding two new features to its mobile apps: video sharing and private group messaging.
Despite Twitter purchasing Vine, it has been rumored for some time that a native video sharing feature would make it into the Twitter app (with perhaps broader ambitions to take on video giant YouTube). The new video camera allows users to capture up to 30 seconds of footage and share it immediately within the Twitter app. From the Twitter blog announcement:
Tweets have been more than 140 characters for some time. The Twitter you experience today is rich and immersive, full of images, gifs, Vines, audio files and videos from some of the world’s most recognizable figures and brands. And starting today, everyone will soon be able to seamlessly capture, edit and share videos right from the Twitter app, too.
We designed our camera to be simple to use so you can capture and share life’s most interesting moments as they happen. In just a few taps you can add a video to unfolding conversations, share your perspective of a live event, and show your everyday moments instantly, without ever having to leave the app. Viewing and playing videos is just as simple: videos are previewed with a thumbnail and you can play them with just one tap.
Interestingly, the dedicated video page states that the feature is available for iPhone and Android phones, suggesting that you will not have the ability to create 30 second epics from your iPad.
I imagine Twitter video will be popular, especially with celebrities, athletes and public figures that have large followings. Being integrated into the Twitter app, and allowing for 30 seconds of footage, it seems like it has some key advantages of Instagram and Vine's offerings. It's also easy to see how Twitter video could be useful in up-to-the-minute news — something a lot of us rely on Twitter heavily for.
The second major feature unveiled today is private group messaging. The ability to create group DM chats has also been on the cards for a while and will begin rolling out over the coming days.
Instead of one-to-one private messaging, Twitter will now offer DMs for up to 20 people and allow for the sharing of text, tweets, links, and images:
Private conversations on Twitter are a great complement to the largely public experience on the platform. You might prefer to read (or watch) Tweets but converse about them privately. You might want to continue a public conversation privately with a smaller group, or start one based on a Tweet you saw. 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.
Twitter has evolved beyond the simple 140 character, text-based tweet and it is clear that the company wants to broaden its feature set. Interestingly (and perhaps unsurprisingly), Twitter makes no mention of the new features making their way to third-party Twitter clients.