Today Instagram has rolled out video chat, new camera effects and topic channels on Explore for its Android and iOS apps. These features were originally announced at Facebook’s F8 conference last month. And it comes on the heels of Instagram's introduction of IGTV and the 1 billion monthly active user milestone.
Video Chat Through Instagram Direct
Instagram has added video chat through the Instagram Direct messaging service. You can set up a video chat with an individual or a group by swiping into the Direct inbox and opening a message thread. Then tap the new camera icon at the top right.During a group chat session, you can minimize the video chat window to multitask on Instagram. So you can still chat while you browse the feed, “like” photos, send messages in Direct and post stories.
The group video chat supports up to four people at a time. And the video will expand as more friends join the conversation.
Once a video chat goes active in a group thread, the camera icon turns blue. To join an active conversation, simply tap on the blue camera icon. Once you are done chatting, tap on the red phone icon at the bottom. Blocking users will prevent them from being able to video chat with you. Plus you can mute users if you do not want to receive notifications from them. And you can also control video chat notifications by tapping on the gear icon on your profile and scrolling to the new video chat control in Push Notifications.
More than two hundred million users visit the Explore tab every day to discover interesting content. And now Instagram has topic channels on Explore as a way to give you new ways to discover your interests.
When you tap on the Explore tab, you will see a tray at the top with personalized channels. One of the channels is called “For You,” which has a mix of posts personalized for your interests. And Instagram also added channels on topics like Fashion, Beauty, Sports and Art. Plus there is a list of hashtags so you can explore additional trending topics that you may like.
“We’re also giving you better ways to control what you see on Explore. You can browse through a variety of interests by swiping from grid to grid, or you can go deep into a specific interest by tapping on a channel and scrolling up,” said Instagram in the announcement. “If you’d like to remove a topic channel, press and hold the channel and select ‘Mute’ from the menu. This sends the channel to the end of the tray, giving you the option to unmute it at any time.”
More Camera Effects
Instagram has added several more camera effects to its app, which were designed by singers Ariana Grande and Baby Ariel, YouTube personality Liza Koshy, Internet media company BuzzFeed and the National Basketball Association (NBA).
You will notice that the related camera effect will be added to the Instagram camera when you tap on the face icon at the bottom right corner if you are following any of those accounts. If you do not follow any of those users, then you can still try out the effect when you see a Story made by another person using the effect and tapping on “try it” under their username.
The Ariana Grande effect takes your face and layers duplicates of it on top of each other in a retro style. BuzzFeed’s effect adds a layer with a large font and a light flashes on the image. The Baby Ariel filter adds star-shaped light layers on the image along with softer colors. And the Liza Koshy effect adds a funny looking mustache and large eyebrows to your face. I have not seen what the NBA camera effect look like, but I will update this article once I gain access to it.