Twitter has announced that users will have the ability to record, edit and share 30-second videos within the Twitter app on iPhone and Android mobile devices. The videos will post within users' timelines just as other tweets do. The feature has been teased for a while and will roll out over the next few days.
I haven't gained access to the video feature yet, but if it works as easily as Twitter describes it, I think it will be a very valuable addition. Of course Twitter has already offered video via its Vine app, but I see Twitter's native video feature as having 2 distinct advantages: first, eliminating the step of having to switch back and forth between the Vine and Twitter apps and second, Twitter's more flexible 30-second length.
True, in the larger scheme of life's headaches having to switch back and forth between apps ranks pretty low in importance, but I always found that extra step a disincentive to using Vine. Even bigger for me was the 6-second limit, which made doing anything reasonably substantive almost impossible. Twitter's new 30-second allowance means recording updates and news bites is now more realistic.
For Twitter itself, the native video feature bolsters its appeal at a time when social video is gaining serious momentum. Facebook in particular is putting a huge emphasis on video and revealed last September that it's getting more than 1 billion video views per day (no doubt way more now). Even though Twitter is a fraction of Facebook's size, a robust video feature will augment Twitter's social networking value.
Separately, Twitter also announced a private group messaging feature, which allows users to select other users for conversations that aren't visible to the public.