Instagram has already struck gold by copying the signature feature of Snapchat; now, it’s looking to do the same thing with apps like FaceTime and Google Hangouts. The Facebook-owned social media service will soon roll out video chat, which will allow users to get together in small groups for streaming video conferences.
Facebook announced the launch of the new feature in a blog post. As CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained during his presentation at the F8 conference, the chat client will be build on top of Instagram’s live video platform, which already functions as a crude competitor for Hangouts and FaceTime. “People use live video to just hang out,” Zuckerberg said. “It’s amazing how many of these tools are about bringing us together.”
Users will be able to access video chat by tapping an icon that will appear within the app’s direct messaging windows. Once connected with another user, chat participants can add additional people to the conversation and can minimize the window while they browse other pieces of content on Instagram.
Though it was initially known as an app for sharing images, Instagram has transcended its roots to become a powerful player in the world of video. It launched its first video product in 2013 and added both Snapchat-like Stories and live video in 2016. The app’s Stories feature has proved particularly successful by surpassing Snapchat in terms of daily active users.
Instagram said it is currently testing video chat and plans to roll it out soon. Until then, if you need me, you can find me on Piper Chat.