Social Media

Twitter launches video tools, private group messaging

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is hustling to show investors just how quickly he can follow through on the promise of innovation he made at the company's investor day back in November. Today he's demonstrating just how fast ideas can get to consumers—and just how serious he is about improving the app in the face of growing criticism.

Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter.
Harriet Taylor | CNBC

To that end, the company is rolling out new mobile video tools Tuesday. Among them is a camera feature embedded into the app, so users can capture, share and edit videos up to 30 seconds long, with instant playback. And all that editing and sharing happens within Twitter so there's no need to swipe out of the app and over to your phone's camera or YouTube.

"The camera is really optimized for instant, quick sharing," said Twitter's product director, Jinen Kamdar. "We're taking sure to make sure the design is really simple."

And unlike Twitter's Vine app, which is a totally separate app for sharing six-second videos, this is baked into Twitter. Video thumbnails will show up in users timeline, but they won't autoplay like videos in Facebook's news feed. Kamdar says the company expects making it easier to watch and share video, will send engagement "sky high."

For advertisers this offers another way to reach consumers by paying to promote video tweets. Brands already have Twitter's Amplify program, and the ability to upload longer-form video content. But now that video will be populating users news feeds, this is yet another way to get video ads—which are considered more impactful, and more expensive than traditional mobile ads—in front of consumers.

Read More Twitter pitches to advertisers at its 'Tweet Suite'

Twitter's also announcing that users can now send direct messages to groups. This follows on Twitter allowing people to start sharing tweets privately—as a direct message—without leaving the platform. "People often take public tweets and use them as a conversation starter," said Kamdar. "Now you can use them as a conversation starter with more than one person." Kamdar says that while Twitter's been investing in the public side of Twitter, this shows how the company is investing in the "private side."

"We've stepped up our pace of execution," Kamdar said. "We're really picking up the pace getting these things out the door." Kamdar echoes the message Costolo's been sending since that analyst day in November.

With growing concerns about management upheaval and slowing user growth, Tuesday's two announcements are clearly designed to keep both users from leaving its mobile app, and investors convinced that it can roll out the necessary changes to rev up user growth.

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