Who does it better in the battle for mobile video-sharing dominance, Vine or Instagram?

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comJuly 11, 2013 

Pepsi versus Coke.

Nike versus Reebok, Adidas, Under Armour, et al.

Sprinkles versus Crumbs. That's one for all you baking nerds out there.

These modern corporate rivalries predate countless others that have sprung up since the Industrial Revolution as companies offering similar services and products jockey for our hard-earned shekels.

The advent of mobile applications, the Internet and other technological advances have done little to dampen the corporate competitive spirit.

And not since Facebook cast MySpace off into the Friendster Graveyard has there been a more intriguing rivalry in Silicon Valley than the ongoing one between social video-sharing apps Vine, which was quietly acquired by Twitter in October for $30 million, and a similar video service launched last month by Instagram, which was not-so-quietly acquired by Facebook in March 2012 for a cool $1 billion.

Both apps allow users to share six-second looping videos with their followers -- with Instagram, the world's most popular photo-sharing app, joining the fray about two weeks age. But which is better?

Strictly speaking, Vine is a better app. It's user interface is substantially cleaner than that of the already-tidy Instagram and allows users to embed videos on blogs, websites and anyplace else one might want to share a time-lapse video of them eating dinner or something similarly inane.

But what Instagram lacks in intuitive design, it more than makes up for in sheer size.

According to press materials, more than 130 million active users are on Instagram a month, sharing 45 million photos every day.

By comparison, Vine has an impressive but comparatively meager 13 million users who share roughly 1 million videos each day, according to a story last month in the Los Angeles Times.

Having toyed around with Vine over the past few weeks, I've found myself frustrated by how few of my friends and Twitter followers are using the app. It is unlikely, for example, that I will see anything new when I open Vine at any given point during the day.

Not so of Instagram, which entertains me with dozens of new photos, and now videos, nearly every time I launch the app.

Vine may be the better app but ultimately the seamless way Instagram has integrated video into its already simple interface matched with its substantially larger user base will likely result in the further marginalization and inevitable decline of Vine.

Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/IPBG_Patrick.

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