Facebook Adds 15-Second Video Sharing To Instagram

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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Instagram versus Vine, let the battle commence

Facebook has launched a long-rumoured video feature on its Instagram photography sharing platform.

Mobile app users can now record clips up to 15 seconds in length, apply any of the 13 new filters and share the results on social networks.

At the moment, Facebook hasn’t announced new attempts to monetise Instagram, or the video feature. However, some analysts noted that the video format is around the length of an average television commercial.

The service is expected to compete with Vine, a similar platform launched by Twitter in January that allows users to share video clips with a maximum length of six seconds.

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“We’re really just getting started with this product,” said Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg when introducing the new feature on Thursday.

Instagram video killed the radio star

“Over the past two and a half years, Instagram has become a community where you can capture and share the world’s moments simply and beautifully. Some moments, however, need more than a static image to come to life. Until now these stories have been missing from Instagram,” wrote Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, on the company’s blog.

Now, 130 million active users of the Instagram app on iOS and Android will be able to shoot video through the familiar interface, which now has a dedicated ‘movie camera’ button. The app also adds new filters developed specifically for video, and a preview function.

iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 owners will get an additional Cinema feature that lets them stabilise a video and reduce camera shake after it is taken.

Any video frame can be used as a large cover image, blurring the line between moving and still content even further.

With memories of last year’s content ownership scandal still fresh in the mind of Instagram users, Systrom assured that the service’s Terms and Conditions will remain unchanged. “We’re still committed to making sure you have control over all of your content. Only the people who you let see your photos will be able to see your videos. And as with photos, you own your videos.”

“There is no doubt Twitter will move quickly to up the ante on Vine and this could undercut Facebook’s efforts with video on Instagram,” said Eden Zoller, principal consumer analyst at Ovum.

“Facebook will need to come out with something compelling, particularly in light recent lack lustre new initiatives such as Facebook Home, and also ensure that the video features on Instagram are in keeping with the ease of use and simplicity that have made the core photo sharing service so popular. But new features aside, Facebook still needs to come up with a strategy for how to monetize Instagram which so far it has failed to do.”

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