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Now that Facebook has incorporated hashtags, the rumor mill has moved on and is buzzing about something else. Everyone is speculating about the press event that Facebook is holding this Thursday, with the top contenders betting on Instagram adding video.
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Last December, Instagram broke up with Twitter and stopped integrating the photos directly into the stream. Users signed onto Twitter and found that the photos section no longer showed any pictures forwarded from Instagram. The move was meant to increase traffic to Instagram’s site, and was paired with the launch of online profiles.
Twitter and Vine have already done the market research for Facebook. Users want to create and share short video as much as – if not more than – they want to create and share photos. If users are given the ability to upload short videos to Instagram, this could quickly be the demise of Twitter’s fledgling app.
Vine acquired more than 13 million users in the first four months after its release, whereas it took more than a year for Instagram to reach 10 million users. While it may seem that Twitter has struck gold with Vine, the micro-blogging site isn’t as established and popular as one might think. Last September, Instagram passed Twitter for daily active users (7.3 million on Instagram versus 6.9 million on Twitter). While Twitter may have seen a boost in users after Vine was released, the addition of video could convert some users away from Vine and bring them right back to Instagram.
In fact, Instagram doesn’t even need to convert users from Vine. People that use Instagram daily that aren’t on Vine yet would have no need to sign up for it if they could do the same thing (and possibly add a filter) on Instagram. This move could make Vine’s growth plateau or stop it in its tracks.
Instagram also benefits from having more sharing options than Vine. Currently, Vine users can share their videos on Facebook and Twitter, but Instagram users can share their art on Tumblr, Flickr and Foursquare as well.
Facebook has made several strides to copy Twitter in the past month. Other than the incorporation of hashtags, Facebook launched verified accounts with little blue check marks that closely resemble Twitter’s. If the rumors are true and Facebook is giving Instagram the gift of video, it would prove that Facebook’s plan to compete with Twitter is to copy its every move.
Of course, until the actual announcement by Facebook on the 20th, the only thing we can really do is wait. TechCrunch also speculated that this announcement is about an RSS feed to launch just in time for the demise of Google Reader. In the meantime, all we can really do is listen to the rumor mill and spread the gossip as it pours out.