SAN FRANCISCO - Twitter-owned Vine said Thursday it was adding an option for private messages sent using the service's looping short videos.
"From Vine's early days, we recognised that there was a growing desire and need for private messaging on Vine," product manager Jason Toff said in a blog post.
"We've watched the community come up with some clever ways to send videos to their friends as we've been working on this solution. Now you can privately send Vine videos and text messages to your friends. You can even send videos to anyone in your address book, even if they aren't on Vine."
Twitter bought the small team at Vine, a startup based in New York, in October 2012, prompting talk the messaging service intended to do for smartphone video what Instagram did for pictures.
The new offering comes amid intense interest in smartphone messaging apps.
Facebook this year unveiled plans to buy the messaging service WhatsApp in a deal worth up to US$19 billion (S$24 billion) in cash and stock.
That came after the service known for disappearing messages, Snapchat, reportedly turned down a US$3 billion offer from Facebook.
And Viber, another messaging app, was scooped up this year by Japanese online giant Rakuten for US$900 million.