Twitter released a version of the popular Vine app for Android phones. Vine

Vine is a mobile video-sharing service launched by Twitter on Thursday. But what exactly is Vine, how does it work and how did Twitter end up getting into the video market?

First, an explanation of what Vine is and how it works. Basically, Vine is a mobile service that allows you to record and share looping videos that are up to six seconds long. Much like GIFs, they are on a permanent loop, which means that users have to be creative when recording their videos if they want them to be compelling.

It may seem odd to limit the clips to such a short length, but Twitter explained its reasoning for doing so on Thursday via a statement announcing the new service on its official blog:

"Like Tweets, the brevity of videos on Vine (6 seconds or less) inspires creativity. Now that you can easily capture motion and sound, we look forward to seeing what you create," Twitter wrote.

The official Vine blog has further explanation of this concept:

"Posts on Vine are about abbreviation -- the shortened form of something larger," the Vine blog says. "They're little windows into the people, settings, ideas and objects that make up your life. They're quirky, and we think that's part of what makes them so special."

But TechCrunch is already criticizing the new technology, saying that it could become "annoying" if Twitter doesn't ensure the auto-play nature of it is controlled properly:

"As you can see, in an expanded tweet, the video auto-plays and loops, which could get extremely annoying very fast," TechCrunch opined. "Hopefully Twitter will also release an API update to provide a proper 'play button' to avoid this."

Vine is currently only available via Apple's App Store for use on the iPhone and iPod Touch, though Twitter says users should "stay tuned" for versions to be used on other platforms. Click this link to download Vine for free from the App Store.

Twitter acquired the tech company Vine back in October, according to TechCrunch, signaling that it was looking to get into the video-sharing game. But it took a couple of months for the company to get the service online, and on Thursday Twitter announced its official launch.

Vine is not the first video-sharing service to hit social media, however. A number of other popular services are already rapidly gaining users, especially among younger users. One such service, Keek, limits video clips to 36 seconds, and it has been promoted by celebrities including Kim Kardashian.

Click this link to check out Vine in action for yourself.