In today’s Bulldog wrapup of technology news:

  • Twitter to allow longer videos
  • A host of new emojis
  • Tesla wants to buy SunCity
  • NFL tries beeping footballs to cut down on fumbles

The details:

  • Twitter to let users post longer videos – up to 140 seconds 

Twitter is now letting its users post videos that are up to 140 seconds long, an increase from its previous 30-second limit.

The move is part of the social media company’s efforts to attract a broader set of users, some of whom feel confined by its limits on the length of tweets — as well as videos. It’s also likely to help users make money from such videos, and comes at a time when online videos are becoming increasingly widespread and popular, especially on the platforms of rivals such as Facebook.

Videos will also be longer on Vine, Twitter’s video-sharing social network. Twitter said that it is starting with a “small group” of Vine creators who will “be able to add a video to their Vine, turning the six second Vine into a trailer for a bigger story.”

The San Francisco company also launched an app called Twitter Engage for those it calls “influential creators.” It’s designed to help them interact with fans.

Finally, Twitter retooled its service and Vine to make browsing for and finding videos easier. Mobile users can now tap a video tweet or a Vine to launch it in full-screen mode. Suggested, similar videos will appear below.

Digital video advertising spending in the U.S. should reach $9.84 billion this year, up from $7.66 billion in 2015, according to research firm eMarketer. As more people watch online videos than TV, advertisers are following suit. By 2020, eMarketer expects digital video ad spending to reach $16.69 billion.

Twitter Inc. currently has about 310 million monthly active users, small potatoes compared with Facebook’s 1.65 billion. The professional online network LinkedIn has 433 million members, but many of these users do not log in every month.

  • 72 new emojis

A face representing “rolling on the floor laughing” and a hand taking a selfie are among 72 new emojis that will soon make their way to your smartphone.

The California-based Unicode Consortium, which controls emoji standards, has released a list of the new characters. Other highlights include emojis representing a pregnant woman and Mrs. Claus.

One proposed emoji that didn’t make the cut is that of a rifle. The weapon was proposed as part of a group of emojis representing Olympic sports ahead of the upcoming Games. Buzzfeed News reports that both Apple and Microsoft argued against including the rifle.

Neither company immediately responded to a request for comment.

  • Tesla dangles $2.8B to bring SolarCity into its orbit

Electric car maker Tesla Motors wants to buy solar panel maker SolarCity for up to $2.8 billion in an attempt to create a one-stop shop for cleaner energy as consumers become more concerned about fossil fuels harming the environment.

The all-stock bid announced Tuesday values SolarCity Corp. at $26.50 to $28.50 per share, depending on a review of the company’s books.

SolarCity’s stock surged $3.31, or 16 percent, to $24.50 in after-hours trading following the announcement of the deal.

Tesla’s shares sank $24.86, or 11 percent, to $194.75, signaling that many investors don’t like the idea of the company relinquishing 8 to 9 percent of its current market value of $32 billion to expand into the solar energy industry.

Both of the companies, located about 17 miles apart in Silicon Valley, are burning through cash as they try to expand in still relatively small markets. Tesla has lost $1.2 billion in the past two years alone while SolarCity has suffered losses exceeding $1.1 billion during the same span.

Yet both have fared well in the stock market, particularly Tesla. That’s largely because its CEO, Elon Musk, has been widely viewed as a visionary since he co-founded online payment service PayPal.

  • NFL teams trying to reduce fumbles with beeping footballs

Amid the hooting and hollering at Washington Redskins minicamp, there’s a different sound in the air during running back drills.

Coaches whack at the football with Matt Jones carrying it, and it beeps. Then it beeps longer.

That’s a good sign.

The Redskins are one of five NFL teams using so-called beeping or whistling footballs to emphasize ball security. When the ball is being held correctly with the fundamental five points of pressure, it emits an audible beeping sound at about 80 decibels to tell a player he’s doing it right.

“If I had that ball in high school, I don’t think I would’ve had a fumble,” Jones said. “It’s teaching me how to squeeze the ball at the point of contact. Everything has changed about me holding the ball.”

Cutting down on fumbles is the goal of the ball, developed by Division II Northwood University assistant coach Tom Creguer and used by the Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and several college teams, including Tennessee and Michigan State. The San Diego Chargers plan to start using them at training camp.

Creguer said practicing with “High and Tight” footballs , which cost about $150 each,reduced Northwood’s fumbles by 63 percent last season. Many NFL position coaches got the lowdown on them at the scouting combine.

“It basically reinforces the proper hold by teaching the athlete to put their forearm to the panel, their panel to the chest and to compress the ball evenly with equal distribution of pressure, therefore creating basically a vice around the football, creating that muscle memory of what it feels like to have the ball secured to their body at all times,” Creguersaid in a phone interview.

Coaches have taught ball security for decades, but this technology adds another element. Creguer said Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown texted him that he’ll use the beeping footballs as long as he’s working.