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Twitter’s about to take on YouTube with a new video hosting service

The world loves video — YouTube now has more than a billion visitors every month — which is why Twitter wants in on the action. We already know the social network is planning to introduce hosted video capabilities, and now some fresh details have emerged courtesy of one user who’s been intrepidly poking around on the video.twitter.com domain.

Here’s what you’ll shortly be able to publish using Twitter: Clips in MP4 or MOV format, in a 16:9 aspect ratio, up to a length of 10 minutes. There’s no maximum file size for the clips and it will be possible to customize the thumbnail that’s used to represent the video, just as you can on YouTube.

Judging from the language and tone of the Twitter Video FAQ, it appears that this will be a feature available to advertisers to begin with, as Twitter looks to encourage them to move their promos from rival sites to its own servers (one less YouTube link is one less money-making opportunity for Google). There’s been no official comment from Twitter on the new service but executives have mentioned in the past that such a feature is in the pipeline.

“Aside from just watching video more easily on Twitter, you should be able to record, edit and share your own videos natively on Twitter too,” wrote VP of Product Kevin Weil in November. “Alongside short looping Vine videos, we think you’ll have fun sharing what’s happening in your world through native video. You can expect to see this in the first half of next year.”

As with Twitter’s push to host its own images rather than rely on third-party alternatives, the aim is to keep content on the network as much as possible, and it’s all part of a wider strategy to evolve the platform beyond its very straightforward and uncluttered beginnings: a ‘while you were away’ feature has recently been rolled out to users of the microblogging network.

[Header image courtesy of Twin Design / Shutterstock.com]