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Twitter has announced the availability of Vine, a free app that lets you make super-short videos to share with friends that play back over and over in an endless loop.

Vine was created by a startup of the same name, but the company was purchased before the product was released. It joins a growing list of apps such as Viddy and Cinemagram that are vying to be the next Instagram, assuming the next such mega-success in the app world will be a video app. Though a number of these seemed to surge in popularity early last year (see: “What’s the Next Instagram?”), the excitement surrounding these apps seems to have cooled down somewhat–perhaps that’s why Twitter sees this as the perfect time to trot out Vine.

Aside from the Twitter connection, which could really help Vine gain users fast, what makes it unique is that you have to hold your finger on your smartphone’s screen to keep recording. If you take your finger off the screen, the video will pause, then resume recording when you place your finger back on it. This enables simple, seamless cuts within the video. Users can share videos on Vine itself, on Facebook and Twitter and as simple links. You don’t need a Twitter account to sign up.

The nicely-designed app can currently be used on an iPhone, and Twitter says apps for other operating systems are on the way (presumably they’ll head over to Android next).

In a blog post, Twitter vice-president of product Michael Sippey said the length limitation of the videos “inspires creativity.” Perhaps, or maybe it will simply inspire a new surge of crazy cat videos.

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