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Twitter introduces private chat and video capture & upload features


Microblogging platform Twitter has introduced group ‘Direct Messages’ to its platform and introduced features to capture, edit and share videos via its mobile app.

With Direct Messaging users can now start private conversations with other users. Essentially, the platform works just like an other group messaging app, letting you select up to 20 people to chat  with privately in one ‘room’. Even if the people invited to the group don’t follow each other, they are notified when they are added to the group, and when messages are sent.

The other major feature introduced, is the ability to capture, edit and upload clips, of up to 30 seconds to a user’s timeline. The feature can be accessed via the app when composing a Tweet. Users can start recording a video by tapping on the camera icon on this screen, and once recorded videos can be previewed before posting. For viewers, videos are displayed as a thumbnail, which can be then played with a single tap. According to Twitter its iPhone app currently lets users upload videos from the camera roll as well, a feature that will be made available on its Android counterpart ‘soon’.

The 30 second videos are an interesting initiative by Twitter, and will be interesting to see how people use it. Other than the standard fare of videos like birthdays and cats, the platform could likely heavily influence journalism, people can record videos of live happenings and quickly Tweet them. Quite a few events over the past few years have been reported first on the microblogging platform, like the China earthquake in 2008, the Boston Marathon Bombings and the Osama Bin Laden raid among others, and with this feature, users can live report events with videos.

Note that Twitter also owns the 6 second video platform Vine, which it had acquired in October 2012, just before its official launch. However 30 seconds of video has the potential to be far more comprehensive for things like news, than the primarily used for the funnies 6-second videos allowed by Vine.

Other developments:

– Earlier this month, Twitter had introduced Tweet translations for Hindi and Urdu through Bing, although Twitter themselves admitted that the translations by Microsoft are low quality and “often fall below the accuracy and fluency of translations provided by a professional translator”.

– Twitter had also acquired the Bangalore-based mobile marketing & analytics platform ZipDial for an undisclosed amount this month. Post acquisition, ZipDial team will be joining Twitter India and Twitter says it also gets a new engineering office in Bangalore.  The terms of the acquisition were however not disclosed.

– In November last year, Twitter had partnered the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to launch a cricket-focused timeline for its Android app and in October, it had started displaying Tweets to users, from accounts and brands they did not follow.

– In September, the company started testing a ‘Buy’ button feature to allow users to discover products and offers and directly make purchases from within the Twitter app. Twitter had first started experimenting with ‘Buy Now’ cards in July this year. In May, Twitter had partnered with Amazon to introduce the #AmazonCart service. The service was launched in India in July.

– Twitter started testing its Promoted Video ads in August last year. It had initially begun testing this feature back in March in partnership with the NBA. This feature built upon the Twitter Amplify program, which was released in India with cricket content from Star Sports.

Also read:

A look at Twitter India & Facebook India’s 2014 trends

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