Twitter Inc. is working on a new Snapchat-style feature that makes it easier to post videos on the social-media company’s app, according to people familiar with the matter, aiming to attract more users and cement a nascent turnaround.
The San Francisco-based company has a working demo of the camera-centered product, according to people who have seen it, but the design hasn’t been finalized, nor has the timing of its debut. The tool could change significantly over the next several months, they said, asking not to be identified because the product hasn’t been publicly disclosed. The goal of the new feature is to entice people to share video clips of what’s happening around them. Twitter declined to comment.
Social-media leader Facebook Inc. has famously copied innovations from Snap Inc.’s Snapchat, a mobile app focused on ephemeral photos and videos that’s popular with younger audiences. Twitter’s latest change suggests that Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey is taking cues from the newer company as well. Dorsey in the past has praised Snapchat, calling the app “very modern” and admitting that Twitter can be “confusing.” The Snapchat app opens first to a camera. With just a swipe, users can see photo and video messages from friends or content from media partners.
The new product targets the relatively cumbersome process of sharing videos or photos on Twitter, whose social network lets people post real-time updates of up to 280 characters and follow others’ feeds. Now, users have to open the Twitter app, click the compose button, find the camera button, take the video or picture, then click on the tweet button. The goal of this product is to reduce the number of steps.
After several years of stagnant growth, Twitter is showing signs of a resurgence. Since co-founder Dorsey returned to the helm in 2015, he’s tried to make Twitter a destination for a “what’s happening now,” striking live-video streaming partnerships and tweaking the user interface. He has made changes across Twitter’s timeline, notifications, the Explore tab and interface that have made the platform easier to use. Analysts have credited those changes as a part of the reason why users are returning more frequently to the platform on a daily basis.
Bloomberg LP produces TicToc, a global breaking news service for Twitter’s site.
Twitter shares gained as much as 1.4 percent early Thursday. Snap fell as much as 5.1 percent amid concern about further competition for the features that once made its app unique.
“Snap is on shaky ground so any iterative news on encroachments of their product experiences is bound to spook,” said James Cakmak, an analyst at Monness Crespi Hardt & Co. Still, even though Twitter’s new feature could increase engagement from its existing user base, it may not be enough to draw in people who don’t already use the platform, he said. “It doesn’t solve the long-term challenges facing the company.”
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