Back in May, we found evidence that Instagram would soon bring video calling to its mobile app. Right on the heels of the introduction of IGTV, Instagram has now officially announced Video Chat, a new Explore tab with channel topics, and new camera effects.
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Video Chat is Instagram’s name for the video calling feature that’ll be housed in the direct messaging section of the mobile app. With it, users can either have a one-on-one video call or chat with up to four people at a time. Best yet, while in a call, you can minimize the video into a picture-in-picture window and continue scrolling through Instagram as usual.
One of Instagram’s main selling points for using Video Chat is that you can now video call both Android and iOS users without the need for a phone number. This is a step up compared to apps like Google Duo which requires both parties to have the app installed and have a phone number associated with the account. With Instagram, over one billion people use the service so there’s a good chance you can just pick up your phone and video call any of your friends or family.
Next, if you’ve ever scrolled through Instagram’s Explore tab, you probably already know how cluttered and disorganized everything can get. With this update, Explore is getting a revamp that includes the addition of topics. When you tap on a topic such as art, travel, or fashion, you will see a curated list of different posts and hashtags that you might want to check out.
And lastly, Instagram has partnered with Ariana Grande, Buzzfeed, Liza Koshy, Baby Ariel, and the NBA to bring its users new camera effects. But instead of just showing up in everyone’s app, you will only see the new effects if you follow the account that created them. So for example, after following Liza Koshy, there will be a new camera effect that places a mustache and thick eyebrows on you.