12seconds enters alpha testing for its video status service

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A month ago we wrote about 12seconds, a company that truly aims to be the “Twitter of video.” That is, it wants to be the goto site for video status updates. Now you can actually try it.

The service is entering its public alpha testing phase today. It’s still invitation-only for the time being, but now anyone can request an invite. (See the bottom of the post for a special offer for VentureBeat readers.) With the move to alpha, the site also offers new features, including friend search, video search and contact invites.

While most people associate the video messaging site Seesmic with being the video equivalent of Twitter, it isn’t really. One of Twitter’s defining characteristics is its 140 character limit. This requires that you keep your communications short, whereas Seesmic videos can be several minutes long. 12seconds’ videos, as you might imagine, can only be 12 seconds long.

In fact, not only can the videos only be 12 seconds long, they can’t be any shorter than 12 seconds either. This restriction will no doubt make for some interesting impromptu moments.

The site lets you share the video clips shot with either a webcam or a mobile phone. To share from your phone, you simply send clips to a personalized address via email or MMS.

Watch the site’s two founders, David Beach and Sol Lipman, describe the site in 12 second intervals at an amusement park of some sort.

If you’d like access to the sites’ application programming interface (API), 12seconds requests that you email them.

As a special offer, 12seconds is offering the first 500 VentureBeat readers who fill out a simple 1-question survey, accounts with the service.

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