Start-up promotes ‘microvideos’ on Internet

Particle, an Internet start-up based in San Francisco, is pushing the idea of microvideos on the Internet. It has started a new service called that allows its users to publish four-second videos to services like Twitter and Facebook.

Such microvideos can be uploaded from a webcam or a mobile phone camera and pushed out via Facebook and Twitter with a few short lines of text., according to the company, is meant to be a digital calling card online or a hub that houses information about the sender’s identity on the Web.

Since it came out of private beta in August, has attracted more than 100,000 new members. Pop singer Justin Timberlake, one of the lead investors in the company, has been active on the site, posting multiple video updates daily.

The idea is to supplement the deluge of messages flowing through social networks, adding context and additional information. This week, a new “TV mode” will be available that will allow users to watch all the videos associated with a particular keyword or "hashtag."

Currently the service is free, but the company is considering paid premium accounts or partnering with companies and marketers who want to host branded contests.