Twitter announces Vine for video

The mobile service lets iOS users create and post six-second looped videos

Twitter has announced a new mobile video sharing service, called Vine, designed to allow users to connect through short video clips in a fashion akin to tweeting.

In keeping with the micro-blogging site's 140-character limit, Vine is built around a similar style of abbreviation: Videos that users post can only be six seconds long, and are played back on a continuous loop.

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Officials at Vine and Twitter are betting that the brevity of the videos will increase users' video-making creativity.

"We believe that constraint inspires creativity, whether it's through a 140-character Tweet or a six-second video," said Dom Hofmann, Vine's co-founder and general manager, in a blog post.

"Go make a scene. We think you'll love it," he added.

Daina Middleton, global CEO of Performics and author of "Marketing in the Participation Age," said Vine could become very popular and that the six-second limit, like 140 characters, is perfect for the average person's online attention span.

Twitter's videos could gain popularity for the same reasons that Tumblr-type gifs do: They're short, pithy, and easily shareable, she said.

"In particular, as compared to Facebook, many people depend on Twitter for real-time news; now this real-time news can include video, as the event happens from anywhere in the world," she added.

Others applaud Vine's simplicity. The app records video whenever the user's finger is pressed to the device's screen, and users can press as many times as they want until the total record time reaches six seconds.

"It's video in a way that's not complicated," said analyst Brian Blau, research director at Gartner. And, though he does not see Vine as competitive, other video services such as Tout or YouTube could react with similar features, Blau said.

In its own blog post, Twitter provided links to several recent tweets of users' Vine videos to illustrate the service. One video, for instance, depicts a hand-drawn animation of a person flicking a ball into the air and then catching it as it falls -- on loop, of course.

Vine, which is owned by Twitter, said that both companies share similar goals. "Like Twitter, we want to make it easier for people to come together to share and discover what's happening in the world," Vine said in its blog post.

Still, a person does not need a Twitter account to use Vine, the company said.

Twitter says Vine is available for free, worldwide, on the iPhone and iPod touch, and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store. The micro-blogging site also said it is working to bring Vine to other platforms, but it did not provide further details or specify whether Android would be included in those plans.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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