In a move to compete with video on Instagram, Twitter's Vine is extending its branches. Vine just rolled out new features it hopes will keep users from abandoning the service for its popular counterpart.
Specifically, Vine announced new camera tools, new channels, a new way to discover people, a reposting function and protected posts. Let's look at each new tool individually.
First, Vine redesigned the camera complete with a new grid, focus and ghost tools. That's not quite an answer to Instagram's filters but it's a new experience that could keep users happy. Meanwhile, a new feature called "On the Rise" lets you discover new people who are starting to the attention of Vine's community.
New and Not So New
"We're introducing 15 channels for you to submit posts to or browse from the Explore screen, including comedy, music and nature -- each with their own theme and Popular feed," wrote Colin Kroll, co-founder and CTO of Vine, in a blog post. "They're a great way to highlight the awesome posts that are shared every day."
Much like retweeting on Twitter, Vine is now letting you "revine." As its name suggests, revining lets you share other people's posts with all your followers in one tap. This is something that Instagram doesn't currently offer, though there are reposting apps you can download that will essentially do the same thing. Then there are Protected Posts.
"Most Vine posts are public, which means they can be viewed, discovered and shared by anyone on Vine," Kroll wrote. "If you want more control over who can see your posts, you can now protect your posts, which means only the people you approve to follow you can see them. And of course, if you choose to share one of your protected posts to Twitter or Facebook, then it will also be viewable on the Web."
The new features are available now on iOS. Protected posts will also be available in an Android update on Friday and the other features are coming to Android next week.
Competing for Eyeballs
Is it enough to ward off Facebook's video on Instagram? Announced in late June, the newly video-capable app aims to compete head-to-head with Vine. Instagram has ingrained itself into the social media matrix with still photos and cool filters that let you add your own creative flare, and brought those same filters to its video app.
Some quick comparisons: Vine lets you post six-second videos. Instagram lets you post 15-second videos. Instagram already had the ability to protect posts, so Vine is just catching up there.
Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, told us Twitter and Facebook are in a competition for eyeballs -- and people like videos. Google proved this with its YouTube property, created a strong business and is demonstrating that it spent its money well.
"The segment is highly watched. It does capture and hold eyeballs and it's one of the things people are sharing right now, on top of pictures. Video helps you hold and expand your customer base and show growth," Enderle said.
"It's important for Facebook's valuation and it's important for Twitter's prospects. Increasingly, folks are turning off their social networks. There are just too many. Both Facebook and Twitter are trying very hard to make sure they aren't the ones getting cut."