Twitter adds video, group messaging features

Twitter adds video, group messaging features
written by Hayley Tsukayama

Men are silhouetted against a video screen with a Twitter logo. (Photo illustration by Dado Ruvic/Reuters)

Now your Twitter videos can be five times as long.

Twitter on Tuesday introduced a new feature that lets you record up to 30 seconds of video to share on its micro-blogging site. You can shoot, edit and share video from right within the app. The feature complements Twiter’s Vine video app, which lets users make looping six-second clips to share.

Actor (and Academy Awards host) Neil Patrick Harris was the first to show off the feature, making an announcement about an Oscar night collaboration he’s making with the creators of Frozen.

Check out my Twitter video #Oscar exclusive! I gots me a scoop!

— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) January 27, 2015

The social network also announced that users will be able to send direct messages to more than one person at once, making it more useful for setting up dinner plans or group movie dates without letting the whole world know about it.

The features are rolling out all users over the next few weeks, the company said in an official blog post.

Both moves position Twitter to better take on the growing number of messaging apps that let users communicate privately — one of the most popular categories of apps on the market right now. They also follow a number of product improvements in the past few months that are aimed at attracting an audience beyond the super-plugged in, constantly updating crowd that it has right now. For example, last week the company introduced a “While you were away” digest-like feature that offers summaries of messages users may have missed while not logged on to Twitter.

The practical features are being credited as the brain children of Twitter’s new product manager Kevin Weil, who was appointed in October with the mandate to give Twitter a wider appeal in the face of new social competitors such as WhatsApp and Snapchat.

Speaking of Snapchat, the ephemeral messaging company had its own ambitious announcement to make Tuesday — it’s getting into the news business.

Well, kind of. The service is partnering with a dozen news and media companies, including CNN, National Geographic and ESPN, to produce short story packages for its users. So, for example, ESPN has a list ranking the Super Bowl’s top players before the big game this week.

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