Men are silhouetted against a video screen with a Twitter logo. (Photo illustration by Dado Ruvic/Reuters)

Now your Twitter videos can be five times as long.

Twitter on Tuesday introduced a feature that lets you record up to 30 seconds of video to share on its micro-blogging site. You can shoot, edit and share video from within the app. The feature complements Twitter's Vine video app, which lets users make looping six-second clips to share.

Actor (and Academy Awards host) Neil Patrick Harris was the first to show off the feature, making an announcement about an Oscar night collaboration he's undertaking with the creators of "Frozen."

The social network also announced that users will be able to send direct messages to more than one person at a time, making it more useful for setting up dinner plans or group movie dates without letting the whole world know about it.

The features are rolling out to all users over the next few weeks, the company said in an official blog post.

Both moves better position Twitter to take on the growing number of messaging apps that let users communicate privately -- one of the most popular app categories on the market right now. They also follow a number of product improvements in recent months that are aimed at attracting an audience beyond the super-plugged-in, constantly updating crowd that it has right now. For example, last week the company introduced a "while you were away" digest-like feature that offers summaries of messages users may have missed while not logged on to Twitter.

The practical features are being called the brainchildren of Twitter's new product manager, Kevin Weil, who was appointed in October with the mandate to give Twitter a wider appeal in the face of new social competitors such as WhatsApp and Snapchat.

Speaking of Snapchat, the ephemeral messaging company had an ambitious announcement of its own to make Tuesday: It's getting into the news business.

Well, kind of. The service is partnering with a dozen news and media companies, including CNN, National Geographic and ESPN, to produce short story packages for its users. So, for example, ESPN has a list ranking the Super Bowl's top players before the big game this week.