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Video On Instagram: Facebook Adds 15-Second Videos To Photo-Sharing App

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Video, meet Instagram.

Facebook on Thursday announced that it had added video recording, editing, filtering and sharing capabilities to Instagram, the immensely popular photo sharing service Facebook bought last year for $1 billion.

"We need to do to video what we did to photos," said Kevin Systrom, the co-founder and CEO of Instagram. "What we've done is made Instagram better."

The app allows Instagram's 130 million monthly active users to record 15-second collages of video clips. Users can delete and re-record clips, and the app features Cinema, a video stabilization tool. Like photos that are shared on the app, videos on Instagram will have 13 custom filters.

If any of this sounds familiar, it's because Facebook is taking a page right from Twitter's book.

In January, Twitter released Vine, an app that records (and then plays on a loop) 6-second video clips.

For Twitter, Vine has been nothing short of a huge success. In the five months the app has been out, it's amassed 13 million users, according to Twitter. (The company wouldn't clarify if these are actually active users or just registered users.)

But earlier this month, six days after releasing Vine for Android, shares on Twitter of Vine videos surpassed Twitter shares of Instagram photos, The Verge reported. (Instagram photos are not integrated in Twitter's timeline the same way that Vine videos are. Instagram requires users to leave Twitter to see photos whereas Vine videos are viewable in the Twitter timeline.)

But there are some key differences between Instagram videos and Vine. Videos on Instagram are more than twice as long, and they don't loop, or repeat, when they're over. Vine also doesn't allow users to edit and delete clips in the collage and doesn't have an image stabilization feature or filters.

"They didn't set out to copycat Vine," said Nate Elliott, an analyst at Forrester Research. "They took it to the next level."

Elliott said that Facebook's borrowing from other sites and services, like it did with check-ins (Foursquare), timeline redesigns (Twitter) and, most recently, hashtags (again, Twitter), has largely been a successful strategy for the social network.

"If you mix liberal borrowing with their own in-house innovation, then that's a great strategy for keeping the site fresh," Elliott said.

Brian Blau, research director in consumer technology at Gartner, noted that Facebook and Instagram had looked beyond traditional social networks, to specialty apps and expensive video editing software, for inspiration for Instagram's new tools.

"None of these features are new," Blau said. "They're just new for Instagram. It's just who it is and what they're doing and how they're doing it."

"All of a sudden you have very compelling video content creation platform," Blau added.

Elliott said it's logical that Instagram would borrow technology and features from other apps and services because it's worked so well for Facebook.

"Their strategy of borrowed innovation has largely been successful for them and has contributed to their overall success at a service," he said. "So it's no surprise to see Instagram following its new parent's lead."

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