Twitter clearly hopes that the new capabilities will entice users away from other social networks, such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Snapchat, and make it a more attractive platform for advertisers. Currently, around 284 million users log on to Twitter at least once a day.
The video functionality will enable users to use their smartphone to film a short, edit it and then share with their followers and the broader Twitter community. Unlike Twitter’s own Vine, videos will not loop.
The group chat function will mean that users can direct message up to 20 people at a time.
Twitter tweeted news of the new features, including videos explaining how they work. Here is one explaining group DMs:
New! Use Direct Messages to speak privately with a group of up to 20 people. Share Tweets, show emoji & be yourself. https://t.co/8giGhC6OO0— Twitter (@twitter) January 27, 2015
And here is a tweet and embedded short explaining video:
You can now shoot, edit and share video on Twitter. Capture life's most moving moments from your perspective. pic.twitter.com/31JoMS50ha— Twitter (@twitter) January 27, 2015
Jinen Kamdar, Twitter’s product director, blogged: "Many of you use Direct Messages to reach the people and brands you’re only connected to on Twitter.
"Whatever the case may be, the ability to converse privately with groups gives you more options for how and with whom you communicate on Twitter."
Meanwhile, Twitter’s video functionality has been built to be simple to use, Kamdar explained.
He wrote: "In just a few taps you can add a video to unfolding conversations, share your perspective of a live event, and show your everyday moments instantly, without ever having to leave the app.
"Viewing and playing videos is just as simple. Videos are previewed with a thumbnail and you can play them with just one tap."