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Twitter to Add Native Video Sharing in 2015, Expanding Beyond Vine

Twitter next year plans to let users directly record, edit and share videos directly on the social service’s network — a step that could make Twitter a bigger rival to YouTube and counter Facebook’s stepped-up video strategy.

Twitter plans to launch the native-video features in the first half of 2015, complementing Vine’s six-second clips already available on the service.

“Alongside short-looping Vine videos, we think you’ll have fun sharing what’s happening in your world through native video,” Kevin Weil, Twitter’s VP of product, wrote in a blog post. He announced the feature at the company’s analyst day conference Wednesday.

Twitter didn’t reveal details of the forthcoming native-video strategy, such as whether it expects to run ads against user-uploaded content or what the limit on the length of videos might be.

So far, besides Vine, Twitter’s video play has been limited to media companies and advertisers, who are able to share clips on the service through the Twitter Amplify program. Twitter has been gradually rolling out a new way for partners to present video in tweets — via video previews that appear in the timelines of users, who can initiate playback with a single click (or tap).

Twitter has been growing — with 284 million users worldwide, up 23% year-over-year, as of the end of September — but is still about one-fifth the size of rival Facebook. Meanwhile, Facebook has been ramping up its video push, adding several YouTube-like features. Facebook says users on average watch more than 1 billion videos daily.

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Other new features Twitter is currently developing, as outlined at its analyst day:

  • An instant, personalized timeline for new users “who don’t want to spend time cultivating one on their own,” Weil said.
  • Highlights showing relevant tweets to users after they’ve been disconnected from the service, a kind of “while you were away” snapshot
  • The ability to make a public Twitter conversation private via direct messages.

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