Instagram has announced the biggest update to their service since its launch in 2010; the addition of video. The move is directly targeting Twitter's Vine app by introducing longer videos than Vine allows directly in a feed that millions of users are checking every day. Instagram's videos can be up to 15 seconds in length while Vine still tops out out six seconds.
In addition Instagram video comes with 13 video filters so users can make their HD cell phone cameras look like '80s VHS tape to match their '70s filtered breakfast shots. Also, videos won't loop like they do in Vine. For some micro filmmakers Vine's loop as has been an inspirational artistic tool. It will be interesting to see if Instagram allows such a feature to be turned on in the future.
There's one feature that's specifically worth singling out, one that could improve mobile video all around even if it's in 15 second chunks right now. Instagram is introducing what they're calling Cinema, a video-stabilization feature that removes the slight shaking that comes from holding your cell phone while pressing a button the screen. It's impressive tech that we can't wait to play around with. Just think of the clarity on cat videos.
The standard features you've come to expect from Instagram also apply to videos, including tagging friends, native Facebook posting and hashtags. Instagram's main advantage in the micro-video war is having a website where users can easily go and look at their friend's collection. Vine is still sorely lacking even the most basic webpage for people to find their friend's videos. This limitation is going to become clearer now that Instagram has entered the field.
Instagram 4.0 hits the iOS store today as a free update. Don't worry Android users, you get the update today as well. You can watch the announcement video below.