Instagram gets more features including video import

Video import gives Instagram another tool that rival Vine lacks

Instagram's new video function lets users record and share up to 15 seconds of video.

Instagram's new video function lets users record and share up to 15 seconds of video.

Instagram is adding several features to its mobile apps including the ability to import and post previously recorded videos.

The video import option will be available starting Wednesday for iOS and Android-based devices as part of Instagram version 4.1, the company announced in a blog post.

Users will be able to import videos regardless of when they were first captured. Once a video is imported, the user will be able to edit it into shorter clips and also crop it square-size, Instagram said.

Instagram introduced video to its app in June to let users record and share brief videos of three to 15 seconds in length. The videos appear in users' streams alongside the service's traditional potpourri of still photographs.

Facebook rival Twitter offers its own mobile video service with its Vine app. Compared to Instagram, Vine does not offer as many video editing features. Instagram's video import tool represents yet another functionality that Vine lacks.

Wednesday's Instagram update also includes an automatic straightening tool just for iOS devices. The feature adds a new icon to the app to level photos that may be impaired, for instance, by a crooked horizon, Instagram said. The tool also includes a slider so users can rotate and adjust any photo -- including ones imported from their library -- as little or as much as they want, the company noted.

Finally, the update brings video on Instagram to devices running the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. Previously, all Android devices were able to play video, but not all devices could capture video due to limited support for high-quality video capture in older versions of the Android OS, an Instagram spokeswoman said.

"At launch of video, we enabled video capture on Android based on a device whitelist, which included all Android 4.1 Jelly Bean devices," the spokeswoman said.

Bringing video to Android 4.0 has been Android users' number-one request since Instagram rolled out its video capabilities, the company said.

Instagram is owned by Facebook. The social network acquired the photo- and video-sharing app for roughly US$1 billion in 2012.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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