Facebook today announced video for Instagram, saying it aimed to make video as easy to create and share as possible. The overall look and feel of the updated app are the same, but next to the main capture icon is now a video camera icon. The user taps the button to begin recording up to 15 seconds of video, and when published it appeared in the main Instagram feed. The updated app is available now on both iOS and Android.
Unlike Twitter's Vine app, which the video feature closely resembles, Instagram video contains a delete button. Tapping it will eliminate the most recently recorded segment. As you might expect with Instagram, the app includes filters: 13 of them to start, created with the help of a video artist, the company said.
The company worked with celebrities and brands to help promote the new feature. Kobe Bryant, Tony Hawk, Charity Water and Burberry all had videos ready to go as soon as the new feature was announced.
Systrom said he has been working on video since 2010
Systrom tried to get in front of the inevitable question of whether Facebook had simply copied Vine by saying video was part of the original vision for Burbn, the app that became Instagram. In 2010, Systrom and co-founder Mike Krieger were working on an app that let users share photos and video with location, Systrom said. But they decided to focus on photography to start with and save video for later.
Instagram video allows you to select your own thumbnail for a video, another point of differentiation from Vine. "It's an Instagram touch," Instagram founder and CEO Kevin Systrom said. Instagram video uploads in the background. Like pictures, it can be added to a user's photo and shared on other social networks.
The videos autoplay like Vines, but they do not loop. "It doesn't get in the way," Systrom said. "We've worked a ton on making it fast, simple of beautiful."
Instagram video also works to improve the quality of video, Systrom said. The company worked with video scientists to create a feature called "Cinema," automatically stabilizing video. "It's completely mind-blowing," Systrom said. The feature only works on iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 for now.
The clips can be as short as 3 seconds
Still unclear is how fast videos will play in the feed. Vine has struggled with long load times for its 6-second clips. "I'm going to set expectations: This is day one," Systrom told The Verge. "We have to figure this out. We have to fine-tune over time based on community feedback." Not every video will be 15 seconds: The clips can be as short as 3 seconds, Systrom said.
In response to a question from a reporter, Systrom said the company was considering bringing its app to Windows Phone but had no news to share today.
Systrom said 16 billion photos have been shared on the service to date, accumulating 1 billion likes each day. It is used by 130 million people a month.
News that Facebook was working on video for Instagram broke shortly after the company sent out invitations to today's event. And though the company took steps to differentiate its product from Vine, the move also shows Facebook moving quickly to ensure its own users have access to fast and easy video sharing.
Released for iPhone in January, Vine has already attracted 13 million users. An Android version came out earlier this month.