Will Fenstermaker After years of being slow to make significant product changes, Twitter is proving that it can move faster. The social network announced on Tuesday the rollout of two major new features: group direct messages and native video sharing and editing. The option to privately message a group of users has been an obvious and frustrating omission from Twitter for years.With the new option, you’ll be able to launch a conversation with multiple followers at once, even if some of those followers don’t follow each other.
Top execs at Twitter had teased the need for private group chats for months, likely motivated by the meteoric rise of messaging apps like WhatsApp and Line in markets around the world.
“When you think about the best international opportunity, there’s a real opportunity for us when we think about our private messaging to strengthen the core of our Twitter product by making it easier for users to move more fluidly between the public conversation that happens everywhere on Twitter and the private conversation between you and a friend or you and a few friends,” Dick Costolo, Twitter’s CEO, said on an earnings call last April.
Twitter’s team first teased plans for native video features during an analyst event in November. The features, as announced on Tuesday, will give users the ability to capture, share and edit videos up to 30-seconds in length by using the camera button directly in the app, just as you would do to create and share photos.
These clips are short, but significantly longer than the 6-second looped videos on Twitter’s Vine service. For what it’s worth, one source close to Twitter stressed that the new video tool should not be viewed as a reflection of Vine’s traction among users to date.
It also comes at a time when competitors like Facebook are emphasizing native videos on site. A growing list of social applications — including Facebook, Tumblr, Flipboard and others — are diving into the lucrative video advertising market.
Earlier this month, Twitter officially began rolling out a feature rounding up tweets users missed while away to help improve discovery on the social network. The company is also working on a range of other product updates, including breaking news alerts, more standalone apps and reducing the friction for onboarding new users — all with the hope of reigniting user growth and boosting engagement. Read more…