Instagram now offers private video chat

The recent release of IGTV seems like it’s given Instagram the push it needed to release one of its most highly anticipated updates. We can finally use the app to video chat with friends, something we already mentioned was coming over a month ago. This new feature isn’t the only change happening though – they’ve also updated the Explore tab and even have new camera effects for us to enjoy.

Video chat with up to 4 people

Although it was already possible to have live video chats with another person, maintaining private conversations in video format was’t possible yet. Luckily, this feature is now available for all Instagram users and to be honest, it works really well.

Starting a video chat with someone is as simple as entering in the direct chat message that you have with the person and tapping on the new camera icon you see in the upper right corner. When the person you’re calling accepts, the video chat will start. This chat can include up to four people, although doing so is a bit more complicated: first, you have to create a group chat with the people you want to add to the call. Hopefully they work on this in the future to make it as easy as WhatsApp, for example.

Whether it’s in a group or with one person, video calls will use your front camera by default. During the chat, you can change the camera whenever you want, and you can even minimize the call to continue looking through Instagram.

The Explore screen gets new topics

Although we already had an Explore tab, it was pretty basic. We were jumping with joy when they included Stories in the upper part of the screen, but we think the new look is even better. Now we can browse the different themed blocks in the upper part of the screen. The topics you see, which you can swipe through horizontally, will be shown according to your interests and Instagram habits, so in my case, I found topics like Music, Style, and Humor. Plus, you have a customized theme called “For You” where you’ll see a mix of your interests.

Each one of these topics is accompanied by a good number of hashtags to help you narrow down what you want to see even more. And if by chance you get bored with the content Instagram wants to show you, you can always silence it by just long tapping on the channel to then see the option to mute it.

New effects for the Instagram camera

It’s been a while since we’ve seen new camera effects for Instagram, and this update comes with a few up its sleeve. That said, they’re sort of promotional effects created by different accounts that you’ll have to visit in order to snatch them. You’ll have to open Stories from Ariana Grande, Buzzfeed, Liza Koshy, Baby Ariel, or the NBA in order to add these effects to your camera. Once you have the Story open, you just have to tap the icon located in the lower right corner of the screen to make the effect your own. 

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