Working off some inside sources and riding on possible leaked information, TechCrunch is reporting that Facebook may be poised to reveal a video function for Instagram at an upcoming press event. Though the idea is speculative, it has sparked interest online because it would seem like a natural progression for Instagram.
Instagram's only core feature before being bought by Facebook for $715 million in early 2012 was its photo-sharing social network and photo filters. Facebook, of course, offers many other social media services; advancing Instagram's technology to include video snippets alongside its images wouldn't be difficult for Facebook's engineers. Plus it could enable whole new ad revenue streams.
Marketers have started using Twitter's own six-second video app Vine, and Vine has seen massive growth recently thanks in part to the release of an Android app (a similar growth spurt preceded Instagram's purchase by Facebook).
But radically changing Instagram may backfire. The addition of Android to Instagram stirred up complaints among users, and many vowed to leave the photo-sharing app when it was acquired by Facebook. Adding video to Instagram could over-complicate the app, which may be a turnoff to users.
Twitter has lit up with arguments about the matter. Chris Geidner of Buzzfeed summarizes the opinions of many with a tweet saying "I don't want Instagram to be vids & pics. That changes the experience completely. Do. Not. Want. Make sure it doesn't happen." Twitterer KissMyKhalifa has a different, but similarly negative take—expressing a boredom with the app that may worry Facebook: "Rumor has it instagram is about to add a video feature... yawn." But other users like JackDNapier feel Instagram has a good chance: "Instagram is getting short video recording feature? R.I.P. Vine. It was fun for the 5 minutes you lasted."
For its part, Twitter chose to give the Vine app its own user experience, albeit one that can be closely integrated with Twitter streams.
[Image: By Flickr user ajbatac]