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Twitter's video-sharing Vine app smashes 40 million user milestone

A mere seven months after its debut, Twitter's video-sharing app, Vine, has already racked up 40 million registered users, it said this week.

Launched in January for iOS devices, Vine lets you create six-second clips, which loop over and over unless you tap on them, creating a very GIF-like experience. By the time Vine arrived on Android in June, it had more than 13 million users.

Vine has now hit a new milestone, which it announced in a tweet. "We've said this before and we'll say it again: this community - now more than 40 million of you - is amazing. Thank you for inspiring us."

Despite its enthusiasm, Vine has faced serious competition as of late from Facebook's Instagram, which added video capabilities in June. During the month leading up to Instagram's news, Vine was riding a roller coaster of Twitter popularity, outshining its filtered-photo rival in terms of shares.

But after Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom introduced the 15-second video function, Instagram links skyrocketed on the micro-blogging site, while Vine usage tumbled.

Perhaps in response to Instagram, Vine has released a flurry of updates this summer, including a revamped camera and the ability to "re-vine" a video posted to the service. Other new features and improvements include a user/hashtag search option, and the ability to post content to Facebook.

Vine famously allows videos of just six seconds, but if things had gone a little differently that limit might have been 10 seconds, or perhaps five.

When they were first testing Vine, co-founders Dom Hofmann, Rus Yusupov, and Colin Kroll experimented with various lengths, Hofmann recently told Boise State Public Radio. After many days of experimentation, something clicked.

"One day we did wake up and say, six seconds," Hofmann said. According to the report, six seconds "allowed for the aesthetic feel the creators wanted but preserved the quickness they wanted to promise users."