Instagram has launched a couple of huge new features today. The platform has announced live video on Instagram Stories and disappearing photos and videos for groups and friends in Instagram Direct.
Announcing the new features, Instagram said,
In August, we introduced Instagram Stories as a way to share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile. We’ve seen stories open up a new side of what people share on Instagram, and now over 100 million people use it every day. With today’s announcement, you’ll soon have two more ways to share freely and in the moment.
Both of these features are huge on their own, and by launching them together, Instagram has given its users access to a whole new dimension of the platform. Lets take a look
Live Video on Instagram Stories
Most of us are already familiar with Live Videos, courtesy Facebook. However, now the same feature is available on Instagram as well — with a couple of twists.
So, whenever you feel like sharing something with your followers on Instagram, simply swipe right from the feed to open the camera. Once here, you can tap the “Start Live Video” button to start sharing your live video to your followers. Your friends and followers may get a notification as soon as you go live and you can also pin a comment for everyone to see.
You can also encourage an active chat while publishing a live video or even turn comments off altogether. You can currently publish a live video to your followers for up to one hour.
Also whenever someone you follow starts a live story, you’ll see “Live” under their profile photo in the stories bar. This way, you can tune into their broadcast whenever you want.
You can also check out new live stories on Explore. Tap “Top Live” to see exciting live stories happening at that moment and swipe right and left to easily skip around.
Take a look:
And the best part? Once you are done broadcasting, your live story disappears from the app! This should help those who are camera shy get over their inhibitions and start broadcasting. After all, even if you mess it up, there is no replaying it.
Disappearing Photos and Videos for Groups and Friends in Instagram Direct
Next up are the disappearing photos and videos for Groups and Friends in Instagram Direct. This feature will allow users to send disappearing photos and videos directly to groups and individual friends.
Here is what Instagram had to say about the new feature:
Since launching improvements to Instagram Direct last year, the number of people using Direct each month has grown from 80 million to 300 million people around the world. In fact, many of them use group threads every day to stay in touch with their closest friends and family.
So basically, you can send messages to anyone using Instagram Direct, however, the platform has added a twist.
Users can swipe into the camera to take a photo or video, and then tap the arrow right in front of you to send it privately. You can choose to send the picture to a group or and/or to individual friends at the same time. And the best thing about the brand new feature is the fact that much like Instagram’s “Live Videos”, they disappear after while as well.
So basically, Instagram is giving you the power to send things you usually wouldn’t — such as bad selfies and so on — without any fear of it being spread across the web. However, you can only send disappearing photos and videos to people who follow you.
Instagram is calling the feature “Ephemeral Messages”. A pretty apt name all things considered. Interestingly enough, not only do these photos and videos disappear from your friends’ inboxes after they have seen them, you will also get notified if they replayed it or took a screenshot.
It might be a bit confusing at first, as messages are now divided into two parts — regular messages and the ephemeral ones.
To open your inbox, tap the new paper airplane icon at the top right corner of your feed or swipe left. You’ll see disappearing photos and videos in a bar at the top. Tap the ones with blue rings to see what your friends sent you. In a group, you can see everyone’s responses — and who else has seen them — in a slideshow format. Then when you’re done, just tap their faded profile photo to send a quick response.
The platform seems to have derived a significant bit of inspiration from both Facebook Live and Snapchat. Interestingly though, with disappearing live videos, it is one of the rare few rimes that Instagram has managed to launch a feature before Snapchat did. Meanwhile, this feature comes barely two weeks after another important update which saw Instagram roll our links, mentions and boomerangs.
Well, while disappearing photos and videos in Instagram Direct will start rolling out today across the world, Live video on Stories and Explore will be rolling out over the next few weeks. Stay tuned and do let us know what are your thoughts about Instagram’s cool new features.