Instagram debuted video today, and it looks pretty cool. As long as it complements the existing Instagram experience and doesn’t slow it down, it’s a welcome addition – and yet another sign that Facebook is close on Twitter’s heels, since Instagram video is clearly meant to nip into Vine’s burgeoning fan base.
Despite the offensive move, Vine isn’t slowing down – and neither are developers working off the platform. Third parties are providing a variety of entertaining services, like Vinecrawler, and a new service called GifVine. GifVine lets you turn your Vines into full-fledged GIFs, so if you take a looping video and want to show it to the Internet in GIF format, now’s your chance. It’s very simple: You just copy and paste the URL of your Vine into a box on the GifVine website, and voila! It is now a beautiful GIF.
Gifvine makes funny Vines even funnier. Like this one I made from a Vine my younger brother took while pranking my sister by hiding in the dryer.
GifVine is great because you don’t always want to embed the entire Vine in your posts; it will also allow you to convert Vines and make them searchable on sites like Giphy. It turns a specialty video into a more basic file format that can be shared easily. Plus, everyone loves GIFs.
There are a few different ways that Instagram video has an advantage over Vine. For one, it already has a robust desktop browser, while you can only view Vines from your computer if they’ve been linked on Twitter, or if you use something like Vinepeek, which shows you random Vines from all over the world. And the filters that Instagram video offers, plus Cinema, its image stabilization technology, will let Instagram video users create more professional-looking videos, whereas Vine videos look distinctly like Vine videos and nothing else, so they’re not quite as versatile.
Vine teased some upcoming improvements today in an effort to swerve some of the hype back its way, and from what they’ve shown, the upgrades may be substantial. There will almost certainly be a redesign allowing Vines to take up the whole screen, and there may also be a feature that lets you record multiple videos at once. Messaging may also be on the agenda. Vine hasn’t yet officially announced the added features, but the teasers make it clear that there are several. So it’d be a shame if people started discounting Vine while it’s still in its infancy. Since Twitter no longer supports Instagram photos in-house, Vine will likely continue to dominate when it comes to Twitter shares, but this Instagram announcement has got to be giving Jack Dorsey the stress bloats.