LINE is stepping up it efforts to make a name for itself in the global market and is now introducing two new features that will put the Asian contender head to head with other players in the field. Starting today, users of the Internet-based messaging service will be able to make video calls and post short video clips, all for free.
Video calls, once the domain of Skype and even of Apple with its Face Time app, has become a staple of Internet messaging services these days. One could say that LINE is somewhat late to the scene, with rivals Viber and WhatsApp already supporting the feature. But, better late than never as they say, and so the service is adding free 1-on-1 video calls to its features. Unlike Google+ Hangouts, though, it doesn't seem to mention any support for group or conference video chats.
As a messaging service, it is sometimes easy to forget that LINE is also a social networking platform, with a "Home" and "Timeline" feature that lets users share their thoughts or statuses with other contacts, pretty much like Twitter. In fact, similar to the popular microblogging service, LINE has added Snap Movie, a feature that lets users take and share 4 to 10 second video clips. LINE users can put such videos on their home or timeline pages and even mix it up with their choice of background music.
Video call and Snap Movie support is rolling out to its apps on Android and iOS as well as on PCs and Macs. It remains to be seen whether such features will help LINE achieve on a global level the success that it enjoyed in East and Southeast Asia.