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The next 'Instagram for video' might actually come from Instagram
Oh no.
 
Could photo-sharing app Instagram start allowing users to shoot and share short video, too?
Could photo-sharing app Instagram start allowing users to shoot and share short video, too? Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Facebook is keeping quiet about about a press event it has slated for June 20, so no one really knows what's on the table. Some reports suggest the social network will launch an RSS news reader, ostensibly to fill the void Google Reader will leave behind went it shuts down on July 1. Another rumor, according to an anonymous TechCrunch source, is that Facebook will announce a new feature for Instagram that lets users post short video clips à la Vine.

TechCrunch notes that although the leak may be a "red herring of its own," getting video on Instagram "is a move that would make sense."

Specifically, it looks like a direct response to the rising popularity of video-sharing services, namely Twitter's Vine. It, and others like Viddy, Cinemagram, and Socialcam, sometimes get described as "Instragram for video" apps. [TechCrunch]

Last month, embattled Twitter journalist Matthew Keys reported similar news: According to a lone source, Facebook was testing a video feature for Instagram that would allow for short clips ranging from 5 to 10 seconds long.

Beyond that, though, not much is known. We don't know if the rumored video clips will be integrated into the Instagram stream, or spun-off as a separate service. And there's no word on filters. Perhaps video is just something Facebook is testing internally and has no current plans to release.

Some critics, however, think the Vine-ification of Instagram could open the door for new monetization opportunities. But it still might not be a good idea.

For starters, Facebook has a horrible track record building copycats of more successful competitors. Remember Poke, the G-rated Snapchat clone? How about Facebook Messenger, it's Skype/WhatsApp all-in-one communications app? Facebook would be wise to take a close look at MySpace, which collapsed under the weight of trying to do too much.

Besides: Twitter hasn't released any statistics for Vine yet, so we don't have any idea of how many people actually use it, or how well it's doing. And video — even in somewhat digestible six-second Vine clips — isn't as easy to consume, let alone create.

I don't know about you, but I only check Vine once every few days. (Instagram, on the other hand, I open multiple times daily.) Even when I do wade into Vine's stream, rarely is there anything interesting to look at — maybe three to four new videos from the same two people out of the dozens of friends I follow. (Then again, maybe I'm just using it wrong.)

That said, I think Vine is great. Revolutionary, perhaps. But in my mind, the fact that users aren't uploading videos every day perfectly illustrates why building an "Instagram for video" has been so challenging for all the start-ups that have tried and failed; video, by its very nature, is a time-consuming endeavor for all parties involved.

Video, by its very nature, isn't instant.

 
Chris Gayomali is the science and technology editor for TheWeek.com. Sometimes he writes about other stuff. His work has also appeared in TIME, Men's JournalEsquire, and The Atlantic.

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