Twitter is rolling out a new feature that makes it easier to view videos shared on the service, the New York Times reports. Like photos, in-line videos will begin to automatically preview in the timeline, and you can view them in fullscreen by clicking on the play button overlaid on the video.
Short videos shared using Twitter’s Vine service already had these features. Significantly, these new videos appear to be designed to run directly on Twitter, hosted on the social network. Twitter had previously only hosted users’ photos on its site, relying on third-party services like YouTube or Vimeo for videos.
The National Basketball Association was one of the first to use the tool. During Wednesday’s evening games, the NBA posted videos taken directly from the live games and encouraged those who clicked on the video to “watch live now.” A Twitter spokesperson confirmed the company is starting this test with Twitter Amplify partners, including the NBA, and all users can see the new video previews on mobile apps and twitter.com.
The new feature could appeal to advertisers and TV partners Twitter has worked to bolster relationships with. The company is putting an increased focus on visual content, including adding inline image previews last fall. The goal appears to be to capitalize on the “second screen” experience, where people use Twitter on smartphones or tablets while watching television shows.
Update:An earlier version of this story indicated that the links to original videos still appeared in the code of Twitter’s website, thus were viewed in a wrapper designed to keep the user on Twitter rather than NBA.com, however the company told The New York Times it was hosted on-site. We’ve reached out to Twitter for clarification.