After Instagram’s introduction of 15-second videos, Vine has made it very clear today that it is totally up for the competition. The service from Twitter has been updated with a bunch of really neat options, which make almost every aspect of Vine better than it previously was. Vines available for exploration are no longer just categorized based on tags, as the service has just introduced channels in the updated app. There is a ‘Ghost’ mode in the camera now, which overlaps a translucent view of the last shot with the current preview screen. Vine also seems to have added a couple of features that are inspired from Twitter. You can now protect your Vine account, and make your posts private. There is also the possibility to re-share any post that you find on Vine.
To share anyone’s vines with people who follow you, hit the third icon in the post’s options bar. The number of revines are shown below each post, right after the description.
Previously, the Explore section in Vine allowed users to perform searches for tags and people, and a list of top tags was shown there as well. Things have changed with the latest update though, and the tag list has been replaced by channels. There are more than 10 channels available in Vine, including the likes of ‘Comedy’, ‘Cats’, ‘Special FX’ and ‘Weird’. Apart from these channels, you can browse through a list of vines that are most popular on the service by tapping the ‘Popular Now’ button. To see trending posts, check out the ‘On The Rise’ section.
Vine has decided to stick to the 6-second video limit, but the recording screen has undergone some major changes. There are three new options that can make the process of creating new vines really convenient. An alignment grid might be pretty standard in most photography apps these days, but it has always been missing in Vine, and the addition is surely welcome in the update. Also, rather than relying on autofocus, Vine now lets you manually adjust the focus on a scene by hitting the penultimate icon in the bottom bar.
The ghost mode is by far the most useful introduction in Vine 1.3. Pretty much like the Before and After app, Vine can now show you a shadow of the shot you last captured before the next frame is taken. This is great for everyone whose gears get grinded whenever there is an imperfectly looped vine on their timeline.
This feature might not be important for everyone, but a lot of people don’t want their Vine posts to become public. If you merely want to add a warning to your videos that they might contain offensive material, toggle on the ‘Sensitive posts’ option. To make your posts private though, the ‘Posts are protected’ option has to be turned on.
With its new features, Vine has managed to stay somewhat relevant for now, but if video sharing becomes really popular among the Instagram community, it is not likely that Vine will be able to stay up to speed much longer. For now, the latest update of Vine has arrived on iOS only, with Android getting just protected accounts, but the rest of the features are coming in a week to Google’s smartphone OS as well.