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Summary:

If your Facebook profile picture could talk, what would it say? Anything you want it to is the answer from the makers of Vanityvid, a new site that aims to replace static profile pictures on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter with short video clips.

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Ever wanted your Twitter page to say a little more about you? Israel-based video startup Vanityvid wants to help you make that happen by turning your profile picture into a video. The company is offering to let users record short video clips with their webcams, which can then be used in place of a regular Twitter or Facebook profile picture. Vanityvid launched two months ago, and co-founder and CTO Oren Solomianik told me that about 2,000 Twitter and Facebook users have already uploaded their own videos.

So how does it work? Vanityvid doesn’t have a relationship with either Twitter or Facebook, so it’s using browser extensions to enhance the profile pictures of participating users. Install the extension, and the profile picture of a Vanityvid user will display a small play icon. Click on it, and the video will open on top of the existing page. Users that don’t have the extension installed still get to see your regular profile picture. Vanityvid currently has extensions for Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer.

Solomianik acknowledged that relying on browser extensions can turn users off, adding: “But we believe that if you get great benefit from the extension, you will install it.” He referred to StumbleUpon as one example of a service that has been hugely successful with an extension, but also said that the extension was just a temporary fix. Vanityvid has already published a WordPress plugin and signed up a few Israel-based sites, and it hopes to create partnerships with some bigger players sooner or later. Said Solomianik: “Implementing Vanityvid for a partner is a piece of cake, just a matter of throwing a couple of Javascript lines in the code.”

Vanityvid doesn’t have a revenue model yet, and Solomianik told me that the company is focusing on making its videos more popular amongst users as well as site owners. It also has plans to eventually release an API, and Solomianik told me that he hopes to eventually create an industry standard for profile videos.

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