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How Vine's new features will change the community

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Vine has revealed a big update to the video-sharing app that reshapes how community members discover interesting people and makes the best videos more visible.

The discovery process on Vine has shifted in an interesting way. There are now 15 channels to browse or submit posts to, each of which has a specific theme. Each channel has a section for new posts and popular videos. "They’re a great way to highlight the awesome posts that are shared every day," cofounder Colin Kroll said in a blog post announcing the changes. 

The channels focus on topics like comedy, cats, dogs, family, news, experimentation, music, and "weird" (for those really offbeat vines). You can pick which channel you want to submit your video to once you've finished capturing your vine.

It's a completely different way of browsing Vine. Until now, your options were the feed of people you follow, hashtags, the Popular section, and Editor's Picks. Now it's pushing users into submitting and viewing videos in broad interest categories, with the overall goal of bumping up usage by helping users find others they are interested in.

Perhaps an "animals" section could have done the trick instead of sections for both cats and dogs, but since this is the Internet and cats rule all, that's perhaps too much to hope for. Oh, and if you're wondering how people can vine themselves playing music, you might want to check out the #NoseGuitar tag (a hint: they're using their schnozzes to film their guitar-playing).

On a more serious note, the New feed on each channel appears to offer an unfiltered look at every video submitted to it. While it's a fascinating way to get a glimpse at what's going on in the lives of other users it does offer the opportunity for perhaps unsavory content to weave its way in there. Back when Vine first started, it had the option to view a timeline of every vine being posted. That's back, in a way, but it could also push some of the prevalent porn back in front of unsuspecting eyes.

Next to the Popular Now tab for currently hot videos in the Explore section is a new option called On The Rise. This, according to Kroll, aims to help you "discover new people who are starting to capture the attention and interest of the Vine community." Again, it's all about helping you discover interesting viners you might not hear about otherwise.

Perhaps even more important is the addition of an option allowing you to repost other people's videos, or "revining." 

Being able to reshare others' work and ideas is an important thread in the fabric of the Web. Pretty much every other social network out there has a sharing tool. Facebook has the share prompt under most posts. Tumblr has reblogs. Twitter, of course, has the retweet. 

Revining, which is done by tapping a button under the video you want to share, is all about letting the people who are interested in you (i.e., your followers) find out about the people you are interested in (the people you follow) by rebroadcasting vines in your feed. Certainly, you've been able to share vines with others up until now by posting them on Twitter or Facebook, or mentioning a friend in the comments. But revining means everyone who follows you on Vine itself can get a glimpse of someone else's videos.

More than that, it provides another way for vines to go viral and pick up a lot of views and followers for their creators. It should certainly boost activity within the network. Retweeting is an incredibly popular way for spreading information on Twitter. Vine will be hoping it can repeat its parent company's trick with revining.

The feature shifts the focus of Vine somewhat from creation to consumption. Vine doesn't want you to simply create videos. It wants you to view the work of others and engage with them. The company would like you to share some of the more interesting clips you see with your friends and keep you hanging around a little longer as you watch vines that pop into your own feed.

Guess what doesn't have an easy reposting option, though? Instagram

The iconic photo-sharing network recently added the option to capture and share videos. It has a few features Vine doesn't, like being able to nix the most recent shot in a video, take clips of up to 15 seconds in length, and. of course, add filters. Some reports suggest Instagram video has eaten into Vine's market share as the dominant player in the mobile video-sharing sphere. That's almost certainly true, but if Vine's been backed into a corner over the last couple of weeks, it's coming out all guns blazing with the latest update.

Elsewhere, viners have a few new camera tools, such as a grid view, manual focus and a "ghost" tool, which lets you take a peek at the last frame of the last shot you took. There's no way to delete your last shot as you might on Instagram, but at least it'll let you see exactly where you left off to help make your videos a little smoother. That'll certainly be helpful for stop-motion artists.

Another important addition is the ability to protect your posts. It's the biggest privacy option Vine has offered to date. If you choose to protect your posts, only people you've approved as followers will see them. If you want to share one of your videos elsewhere, you can share it to Twitter or Facebook and it will also be viewable on the Web.

The Editors' Picks section is gone from the app for the time being, though Vine said it is "morphing into a different form." The new features are all included in the most recent version of the iOS Vine app. Android owners will have them all by next week.

Vine's growing up, in a sense. To begin with, the focus was all about creating, getting people to make compelling videos. Now it wants you to discover them and share them with your friends.

Certainly, your feed is about to get much noisier. But darn if it isn't about to get a lot more interesting. 

Photo via David Sify/Flickr