Instagram has just launched a four-way video chat feature to rival Snapchat and Apple’s FaceTime. The social media giant now allows friends to group chat via Instagram Direct on its Android and iOS apps.
As explained in Instagram’s own post below, users can also minimize their chat window and continue to scroll through their feed without ending the call. Which, let’s be honest, is what most of us will end up doing.
Today we’re launching two new features to bring you even closer to the people and things you love: video chat and topic channels on Explore. You can now video chat in Instagram Direct, either with just one person or a group. While on the chat, you can minimize the video and keep enjoying Instagram. With topic channels on Explore, we’re giving you new ways to discover your interests on Instagram. Now it’s even easier to browse through posts you want to see and accounts you want to follow.
While rival Snapchat has a 16-person chat function and FaceTime plans to support up to 32 people, Instagram’s new chat feature announces its intention to compete with rivals on new fronts, counting on the popularity and engagement time of the app to give it an advantage over services with more expansive video chat services.
Instagram has also made changes to its Explore page. The update now divides the feed into topic channels (appearing at the top of the display), revealing related content below.
Depending on the content you interact with, Instagram’s algorithm will personalize content, which users will be able to swipe between. Any categories you’re uninterested in can be muted. Prior to this change, the explore feed was a mishmash of popular content under “Videos You Might Like.”
To see Instagram’s group chat in action, check out this video from TechCrunch below.
Let us know in the comments below if you’ll be using Instagram’s multi-person video chat.
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