Instagram launches video sharing

Instagram, the photo-sharing app purchased by Facebook last year for $715m (£455m) – somewhat lower than the $1bn it had originally bid following a sharp fall in Facebook shares – is rumoured to being unveiling a video sharing service later this week at an event on Thursday to be hosted by the social media giant.

Rumours of a video service first surfaced a few weeks ago when Matthew Keys, a well known technology blogger, claimed that Instagram would soon allow 5-10 second video clips to be added.  It’s not known yet whether the video service sit in the existing Instagram app or have be built on a separate app platform.

With invites to the event headlined with “A small team has been working on a big idea” it’s suggested that Instagram’s move into offering a video service has been triggered by the success of Vine.  Vine’s standalone video-sharing app for Twitter has been downloaded some 13 million times on the iPhone since the start of the year.  It’s Android app, only made available since the start of this month has already enjoyed around 5 million downloads.

As the most established photo-sharing service Instagram has over 100 million users – and Facebook serves around 15 billion images every day.  So Instagram clearly has an established user base, which provided any new service is launched sympathetically to user’s feedback (rather than the PR disaster that was Instagram’s rollout of new terms and conditions which saw users flee the service) could prove an instant hit and block any further rapid expansion of Vine.  Instagram’s hugely popular visual effects could be put to use on the video service.  Those who have much to lose from such a move may not only be Vine, but apps such as SocialCam andViddy.

But are the rumours simply wrong?  Some have suggested that the second line of Facebook’s invite hints at something much bigger than just an extension to Instagram’s existing service.

“Join us for coffee and learn about a new product.”

TechCrunch has suggested that this could be a news reader service, timed to launch just as Google Reader shuts down.  Perhaps Facebook will prove us all wrong and launch something else and take us, tech-geeks and investors all by surprise.

James Barnes, StatusCake.com

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