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Instagram could make a video move

5:26 AM, Jun 18, 2013   |    comments
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Wildly popular photo app Instagram may be looking to grab some social status in the video arena.

Facebook sent out an invitation saying, "A small team has been working on a big idea" in a move to tease interest in a new product announcement scheduled at the company's Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters on Thursday.

Facebook's Instagram has seen sizzling growth on interest in mobile photo sharing, and a logical step would be to stake out videos next.

Shares of Facebook rose 1.7%, to $ 24.02, amid the rumors.

The social-networking giant reported in its first-quarter earnings that Instagram has attracted more than 100 million users, up from about 22 million when Facebook acquired the company.

App videos have become an Internet sensation as heaps of startups try to become the next mobile version of YouTube. Short ones from Vine, purchased by Twitter in October, have made 6-second videos a new message form.

Facebook and Twitter compete for social attention and have added features such as streaming radio music services to keep users glued in. Facebook last week borrowed a page from Twitter's hashtags convention of providing search around certain subject areas to launch hashtag support on the world's largest social network.

Facebook has a history of trying to match the features of rivals, points out analyst Greg Sterling. "They have seen the success that Vine has had and do not want to have Instagram lose favor because it does not offer that. I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to do something that one-upped it.

The prospect of Instagram launching a video service saw increased speculation in media reports on Monday.

Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Scott Martin, USA TODAY

USA Today / Gannett

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