Will Instagram video weed out Vine?

Thursday's announcement could spark a leapfrogging competition between the rival apps, some experts say

By Zach Miners, IDG News Service |  

Facebook has unveiled its new video feature for Instagram, five months after Twitter launched a very similar video app called Vine. Can the rival services co-exist?

"They can," according to analyst Greg Sterling, because Instagram video and Vine serve different audiences, he argued.

The new Instagram feature lets users record videos three to 15 seconds long and apply one of 13 new filters. They can also edit their videos by deleting clips as they record them. And on iOS, the app has a "Cinema" mode to reduce shakiness and produce more professional-looking video.

Vine is a more stripped-down service that records three- to six-second videos, with no filters, editing or image stabilization. Once a video is recorded, users can either save it, upload it or start from scratch.

Vine lets users easily share their videos on its dedicated social network, as well as on Twitter and Facebook; Instagram offers built-in sharing support for Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and also Tumblr and Foursquare.

"Vine is like fast food, while Instagram video is more like eating in a nicer restaurant," said Ovum analyst Jan Dawson.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, he said. "Sometimes you just need to grab a burger and get out the door," he said. "For Vine, it's like, 'share and forget.'"

Others said Instagram and Vine don't serve different audiences as much as they represent two different social networks and their efforts to retain and engage users.

"Vine isn't necessarily Twitter, and Instagram isn't necessarily Facebook, but that doesn't mean these apps aren't part of the bigger collective [sites]," said Brian Blau, an industry analyst with Gartner.

Social media networks realize that features around photography and video are things they need to have, Blau said.

"Part of what's going on here is who these companies are and the reach they have, and I think that could really make a difference in terms of the popularity of these features," he added.

"There's a lot of room for both Vine and Instagram video, at least in the short term," said Zachary Reiss-Davis, an analyst with Forrester Research.

"This might be a case where the site that creates the best content wins, and the major social platform providers are all of a sudden becoming content providers," he said.

So will Instagram video, with all its bling, better enable the creation of that content than Vine?

Vine may be getting ready to offer some advanced features of its own. On Wednesday, Vine co-founder Dom Hoffman posted two Vine videos on his Twitter feed that seemed to hint at new tools around texting or messaging. One post was titled, "Tinkering"; the other, "Say something nice."

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