The feature, which will allow users to shoot, edit and post video directly through the app, is Twitter’s attempt to get more clips on the service — and more engagement. Right now, the only way for regular Twitter users (that is, not advertisers, or certain publishers and celebrities) to share video is to do so through Vine, Twitter’s standalone, six-second video app.
This new feature is different from Vine, but it apparently has some similarities. With the native video tool, you can upload video from your phone’s camera roll, or shoot and edit video directly through the Twitter app, according to sources who have seen and used the feature. A Twitter rep declined to comment.
The videos will also have some kind of time limit similar to Vine. These sources say Twitter has experimented with a 20-second time limit on user-uploaded video.
The goal for Twitter is to get more users sharing and creating video on the platform, which in turn could keep people using the product more regularly. Facebook is making a similar push, and now says users are watching more than a billion clips a day. Other social networks like Snapchat and Instagram also have native video sharing capabilities.
While Twitter hasn’t offered native video before, it made numerous changes last year to bring outside video and multimedia to the timeline, including support for Vine videos and GIFs. Last March, the company rolled out a video unit for a select group of verified users and advertisers that lets them upload longer videos — up to 10 minutes in length — through the Web.
The company told investors in November that a native video tool for regular users was in the works, but said only that it would launch in the “first half” of 2015.
The native video feature should be one of Twitter’s most substantial product updates in some time. The company has been criticized in the past for moving too slowly on product changes; as a result, Twitter is on its third product VP in the past year.