It's like Twitter for video. In fact, it is. Vine, acquired by Twitter in October, lets you make videos on your iPhone up to 6 seconds long, then post it to your social network. But with the very similar Cinemagram already on the market, how does Vine compare?
After downloading Vine, you can sign in with Twitter or email, meaning you can use the app even if you don't have a Twitter account. There was an option that let you sign up using your Facebook account, but the popular social network eliminated that option less than 24 hours after the app launched. We tapped to let Vine access our Twitter account, which imported our Twitter profile photo, name and tagline. Then we tapped Done to create our account.
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Vine looks very similar to Cinemagram, in that it has Explore, Activity and Profile tabs. They're located within a top nav bar as opposed to a bottom nav bar, but the interface is overall very easy to learn.
We were taken to a basic feed of Editor's Picks, which showed pretty intricate videos to demonstrate how creative you can get with this app. For example, one video showed the different steps of baking a cake, from all the ingredients on a counter to the finished product, and another showed a banana shrinking piece by piece. Sometimes the mini videos loaded fairly quickly, but other times, it took minutes to load a single video. This occurred whether we were using Wi-Fi or 4G.
On the top nav bar, tapping a Home button lets you select Home, Explore, Activity or Profile. From Explore, we could select Editor's Picks, Popular Now or All Posts, or we could search by popular hashtags such as #travel, #sports or #food. You can also search people or tags if you're looking for a specific type of video. We tapped #travel to see what we would find, and it was truly intriguing to see the videos people had posted with that hashtag from all over the world. However, users quickly took to using #porn when posting pornographic videos, but you shouldn't see those clips unless you search for them.
The Editor's Picks and Popular Now feeds seemed to be identical, but perhaps that's because the app has just launched and there's nothing yet to differentiate the two categories. All Posts is just what it sounds like -- every recently uploaded post from Vine users. However, all pages took a bit longer than we liked to load the first time we accessed them.
Once you acquire friends on Vine, your Home page will show your videos as well as theirs. You can like or comment on their videos, as well as report them as inappropriate.
The Activity tab simply shows your activity, including who's following you and who has liked or commented on your videos.
The Profile tab took us to our personal page. Here, we could alter our name, tagline, location, email, phone or password. Plus, we could connect to Facebook or invite people via text or email. There is no option to make your profile private, though. This means anyone can follow you; we wish there was the option for a private profile. The Profile tab is also where you can delete your old posts.
Find People let us search for our friends on Vine via our address book, Twitter, Facebook or a search option. We tested out each option; unfortunately, none of our address book contacts had the app yet, but we were able to add several users via Twitter. The option to find friends via Facebook lead us to an error page, because Facebook eliminated ties with the app.
We tried searching for users via first name, and we were taken to a list of search results where we could add any of those people. We didn't like how we could add anyone, even if they were a stranger; this means there's no option to confirm or deny followers.
Alternatively, instead of going into Settings in your Profile tab, you can tap the People icon in the right of the top nav bar to search for potential friends via your address book, Twitter, Facebook or a search option.
How Vine Works
To start making your video, tap the Camera icon in the right corner of the top nav bar on the Home screen. To record, hold your finger on the screen. You can hold your finger on the display or the entire 6 seconds of the video, or you can remove it, find a different video subject, then press down again. Since Vine only records when your finger is on the screen, you can create videos with three different focal points. As long as you leave the video in progress open, you can exit out of the app and use your device for other functions, then return to the video later.
When we scrolled down through the feed of videos, we could hear audio of each, and audio on our own videos came through crystal clear. This is definitely a one-up on Cinemagram, which lacks audio. When we tweeted our videos, we could choose to mute or unmute, so you could hear audio if you like.
You can't use video already saved on your phone, so we braved the cold and recorded five different New York moments. We like that you can control how many sub-videos you want in each recording, and the length of each as well. The video function was easy to use, but a word of caution; you can't delete individual clips within a video once you start recording.
Although videos can be a max of 6 seconds, they can be as short as you like. Videos loop automatically, but you can stop it by simply tapping on the video. Unlike Cinemagram, though, within Vine you can't apply artistic filters.
After you create your video, you can add a caption with hashtags and add a location. A copy of your video is also saved within your Camera Roll.
While you can't log in to Vine using Facebook, you can post videos to that social network, as well as Twitter or Vine itself. After less than 5 seconds of waiting, our video was live on Vine and our Facebook and Twitter feeds. A tweet linked to the video, and we could even view the media within the tweet. On Facebook, the video appeared a bit down our profile page in the right column under Vine - Recently. We're used to app activity posting at the top of our profile, so this was a bit different, but perhaps this was just our experience.
We like Vine's simple interface, and that it let us take videos of several different things and incorporate them into one single video. However, we wish we could make our profile private and add filters, a la Cinemagram. With various news outlets already reporting that the app has inspired many to post pornographic videos, though, we're unsure as to whether Apple will pull the plug. But overall, Vine's sheer ease of use could do for video sharing what Twitter has done for sharing your thoughts with the world.