Facebook adds Vine-like video to Instagram

Facebook has added video to its photo-sharing app Instagram, going head-to-head with Twitter’s rival service Vine.

The new video feature lets users record and post 15-second looping videos through the app. By comparison, users can only post six-second bursts of footage on Vine.

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said video for Instagram had always been on the cards, but cutting down the upload times and adding editing tools was too tough before the company was bought by Facebook. With Facebook’s financial backing, Instagram video goes several steps further than Vine, letting users add a spate of custom filters to their shots as they do with photos.

“There’s definitely a one-upmanship going on,” said Brian Blau, research director, at Gartner.

The new features are available as an update on the iOS and Android app, with the interface looking much the same except for a new video button. Users can choose from 13 new filters created especially for the new video function. There’s also “Cinema”, a video stabilisation tool, and the ability to choose a cover frame for videos.

Systrom denied that Instagram had added the feature simply to drive up its parent company’s advertising prospects.

“We need to do to video what we did to photos,” he said. “This is really driven by consumer demand and not by business need. I don’t think we designed it with any advertising in mind. I think over time we’ll figure out how advertising in general – video, regardless of the medium or photos – ends up being okay on Instagram in a useful way for users and for businesses.”

Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion in April 2012 as a way to keep its users hooked on new features weeks before becoming a publicly traded company. The company is part of Facebook’s mobile strategy as it seeks to get more advertising revenue.

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