Instagram has been taking quite a bit of inspiration from Snapchat lately, and that trend continues today. The app’s latest update brings two new features: “disappearing” photos for Instagram Direct and live video broadcasting in your Instagram stories. The latter feature is probably a bigger deal, and something Snapchat isn’t doing yet — but given how popular Periscope and then Facebook Live video has become, it’s not surprising to see the feature make its way to Instagram.
Instagram’s live video feature is built into the existing “stories” feature — when you swipe over to add a picture or video to your story, you’ll get the option to go live instead. If you start broadcasting live video, your followers will see a little “live” badge on your story icon so they can tune in. Naturally, the interface allows for live comments to flow in, and users can “heart” your broadcast as well. Instagram is also pushing live stories into the app’s “explore” tab so you can see people going live that you don’t follow who might be sharing things you’re interested in.
As for disappearing photos and videos, those can be sent through the Instagram Direct feature to either a single user or a group that you may be a part of. You can only send disappearing photos and videos to people who follow you, and you’ll be alerted if someone takes a screenshot of your image or if they replay the video. Of course, you can draw on the images and add text, just like you can to things you post in Instagram Stories.
The disappearing messages are set to roll out today to all Instagram users, but you’ll need to be patient if you want to try live video — the company says it’ll be rolling out “in the coming weeks.”
Via: The Verge
Instagram today revealed two major new updates coming to its platform, including transient live videos and direct messages, akin to Snapchat. The company has added live video as a new UI option in the story camera — Boomerang was added there recently as well — and the feature lets users go live for up to an hour. As with Facebook’s own live video, friends get notifications when the stream begins, and can comment as events unfold.
Live video will also be added into the Explore Tab, so users can see trending and most popular live videos, perhaps from news sources and entertainment accounts as breaking news happens across the world. Just like stories, live videos will disappear when the stream is over, “so you can feel more comfortable sharing anything, anytime,” according to Instagram.
The company is continuing its “pressure-free” mantra with disappearing direct messages, which will let users send photos and videos to friends and groups that disappear once they’ve been viewed. The sender will also be notified if the receiver has replayed the message or taken a screenshot, just like in Snapchat.
While live video is gearing up to rollout globally over the next few weeks, the short-lived photos and videos in direct messages will begin appearing in the Instagram app today. For those who have yet to download it, Instagram is available for free on the App Store. [Direct Link]
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Gone are the days when Instagram’s scope was clear-cut. For better or worse, the app is no longer just about sharing photos with other users or scrolling through a river of images with hundreds of digital likes. Since being acquired by Facebook in 2012, Instagram has left behind its roots as an unambiguous social network in favor of becoming a more robust platform. Whether to monetize or to enhance the experience for people, newly minted features like Stories have catapulted Instagram beyond being a simple photo-sharing app. And it’s not finished yet.
A couple of weeks ago, the company rolled out support for shopping tags, which gives users the ability to buy products they see in ads in their feed. Rather than a brand telling you to click a link in the bio, you now hit a tap-to-view button on an image to learn more about any item you’re interested in. Once you’re ready to buy the goods, companies have the option to send you to their website or app to complete the checkout process. The idea, naturally, is to keep people glued to Instagram for longer periods and, most importantly, make shopping an integral part of the app’s design.
Instagram shopping tags on JackThreads’ profile
Right now Instagram is only making this tool available to 20 fashion brands, such as Warby Parker and Kate Spade, as well as online retailers like JackThreads. But the feature, which is only viewable by iOS users in the US at launch, could expand to other countries in the near future. Android support is expected down the road too. According to Instagram, that’ll happen once it’s comfortable with how partners display and recommend products without affecting the core experience. Eventually, users will also have the option to bookmark products they’d like to buy at a later time, in what’s going to be an obvious move to challenge Pinterest.
Surprisingly, Instagram isn’t earning revenue based on how many people use shopping tags to make a purchase. Instead, the company hopes brands see the feature’s potential and spend more money advertising on its platform. That strategy could pay major dividends, especially if things continue to go as smoothly as they have during this trial period. The challenge for Instagram, however, will be ensuring this doesn’t become obtrusive, which wouldn’t be good for either the user or the brand advertising.
“We’re really kind of focused on being very craft oriented and doing the simple things first,” says Vishal Shah, director of product management at Instagram. He points to the feature being aesthetically similar to when you see someone tagged in a photo, with an icon on the lower left corner indicating that you can go deeper than viewing or liking the picture. When asked about feedback from consumers, Shah said it is too early to know, though he noted that brands and retailers are excited about the possibilities.
If it feels really good for the consumer, it’s going to be good for the brand.
For Instagram’s partners, having access to shopping tags allows them to further engage with consumers. Most importantly, it sets up another platform where they can sell products with ease. Dave Gilboa, co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker, says this new feature won’t be replacing its website or apps anytime soon. That’s not only because you can’t shop directly through Instagram (yet) but also because he sees it as a complement, not a replacement, to his company’s current marketing strategy.
“We don’t view this as anything that extreme,” he says, “but it does remove friction.” Gilboa notes that a lot of Warby Parker customers are already discovering products on Instagram, but up until now there wasn’t a simple way for them to capitalize on that engagement. Naturally, Instagram is hoping to alleviate that problem with shopping tags and other recently launched business-focused tools. In August, for example, Instagram started letting business profiles add a “contact” button to their account, which made it simple for followers to call, email or text them without having to search for that information on Google or elsewhere.
While Instagram is now making an official push to keep shoppers glued to its app, some of its actual users (read: not businesses) have been two steps ahead. In recent years, Instagram has become a platform for streetwear resellers, who post anything from Yeezys to highly coveted Air Jordans and sell them directly to anyone interested. “Andre,” a reseller whom we interviewed about his unconventional marketplace, said he chose Instagram over eBay because of the one-to-one aspect of it.
Individual resellers have a big presence on Instagram.
Andre isn’t the only one doing this either. There are thousands of users mirroring what he does through his Sole Street Sneaker Co account. To some extent, what Instagram is hoping to accomplish with brands and retailers feels akin to that — namely the direct-to-consumer approach. “There’s a lot of different kind of ways we’re thinking about this to expand to,” says Shah about whether smaller players could ever get access to shopping tags. “Right now we’re really only focused on retailers.”
Nevertheless, only time will tell how this test plays out for Instagram. Both Shah and Gilboa emphasize that they won’t find out if shopping tags are a success until later, but they’re confident users will be fond of what this feature and others like it bring to the table. One thing is certain: Instagram is evolving, which may be a hard pill to swallow for people who don’t appreciate change and want the app to stay true to its simple roots.
At the end of the day, Shah claims everything Instagram does is with the user in mind first and foremost. Although business partners may play a major role in how the app is shaped, he says it’s not the main one. “If it feels really good for the consumer,” he adds, “it’s going to be good for the brand.” You can be the judge of that.
Facebook bought Instagram way back in 2012, but you almost wouldn’t know it from how separate they are. Outside of Instagram’s options to log in with and post to Facebook, you almost wouldn’t know the two entities are connected. However, that’s changing in a big way… for the corporate crowd, at least. Facebook is launching a unified Pages Manager inbox that lets businesses see and reply to their Facebook, Messenger and Instagram interactions in one place. If you complain about a faulty product in an Instagram comment, you’re just as likely to be answered as if you’d sent a scathing Facebook message.
Social media managers can also get a better sense of your history. They’ll see your publicly available Facebook or Instagram profile, and will know whether or not you’ve spoken before. They can even apply labels, so they’ll know if your concerns are particularly urgent or if you’re a regular.
Everyone using Pages Manager should see the new inbox available within weeks, and it’ll spread to other devices as well. The question is: will regular users see anything like this? Why can’t we check our Instagram interactions in Facebook, for example? Still, this is a good sign — it shows that Facebook is aware of at least some situations where its social networks need tighter integration.
Source: Facebook Business
Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom has confirmed to The Financial Times that the Facebook-owned company is bringing live videos to the photo-sharing app. Systrom said in the interview: “Live is really exciting for us. I think it can enhance what we’re doing. If I’m trying to strengthen relationships with someone I love, them streaming video to me live would be an amazing way to be closer to them.” The feature first surfaced last month as an experimental offering in Russia, where some users spotted an icon clearly marked “Live” next to a row of Instagram Stories.
Based on the screenshots posted by Russian publication T Journal, it’ll work similarly to Facebook Live. If you want to broadcast anything, you’ll have to fire up the camera and click “Go Insta!” Unfortunately, the users who got access to the experimental feature weren’t able to find out more than that, since clicking the icon marked “Live” brought them to an empty “popular live broadcasts” page. You might also have to a while before being able to find out yourself: Systrom didn’t exactly say when the feature will become available.
Source: The Financial Times (paywall)
Instagram has been making regular tweaks to its Stories feature since it debuted a few months ago. Today, the social network is adding a trio of tools to the collection of photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. First, you can now choose to use Boomerang to capture clips for Stories. All you have to do is swipe right from your feed to access the Stories camera. Under the record button there will be an option for Boomerang mode. Once selected, simply tap record to shoot the short burst of photos that will play forward and backward in your Story.
In addition to the new Boomerang mode, Instagram also added mentions and links to Stories. Mentions are the same as if you were tagging someone in a comment or caption, just use the @ symbol followed by the username. Inside your Story, anyone you mentioned will be underlined and tapping on the username will display a pop up that links to the person’s profile. If you’re mentioned by someone you follow, you’ll get a notification in Instagram Direct. If someone you don’t follow mentions you, a notification will appear in message requests.
Links debut in Instagram Stories as well, but only for verified accounts. The company says the feature is in testing right now, adding a “See More” option at the bottom of Stories. To access whatever the link is pointing to, all you have to do is swipe up to view it with Instagram’s built-in browser. Unfortunately, there’s no word on when or if all users will be privy to the tool. On the plus side, all of these new items are available now for iOS, Android and Windows 10 via the latest update in each respective app store.
An update rolling out to the iOS, Android, and Windows 10 Instagram app today has introduced the company’s standalone app “Boomerang” directly into its new Snapchat-like stories feature. Boomerang allows users to take a burst of photos that cycle forwards and backwards quickly, creating an animated GIF that they can share to Instagram and Facebook directly within the app.
Today, when users swipe left-to-right to open the stories camera, there will be a new format picker under the shutter button which can be toggled between “Normal” and “Boomerang,” and shared directly to their story.
Mentions are also making an appearance in stories, allowing Instagram users to tag friends and family members using the @ icon normally found in comments and captions of posts. Whenever a friend taps the @ mention on a story, they’ll be directed to that user’s profile. Anyone who’s mentioned in a story will also receive a direct message with a link to the image or video they were tagged in.
Additionally, a “See More” tag for some verified accounts will help users dig deeper into that person’s media content.
Watching someone’s story and want to dig deeper? You may spot “See More” links at the bottom of some stories. This is a test that lets verified accounts add links so it’s easy to learn more. From discovering the latest music by Chance the Rapper (@chancetherapper) to learning about a new movie starring Dwayne Johnson (@therock) or reading a related article from Bustle (@bustle), tap “See More” or swipe up to view the link right inside the app.
Instagram is available to download for free from the App Store [Direct Link], and the 9.7 update will continue rolling out to users throughout the day.
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Ads in your Instagram feed may be irksome, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could at least find out how much it would cost to buy those sweet shoes or stylish bags? Instagram sure does. It’s starting to roll out shopping tags that identify the products in ads. Tap a button and you’ll see the basic details of products in a photo ad; tap those products and you’ll get both more details as well as links to visit their store pages on the web. You can’t buy goods directly from Instagram right now (possibly a good thing), but you also don’t have to scrounge through a retailer’s website just to find what you saw a moment ago.
The tags are initially viewable only to a subset of iOS viewers in the US. Most of the early ad partners are fashion brands like Kate Spade and Warby Parker. Expansion to Android, video ads and other countries will follow as Instagram figures out how it can display and recommend products. Eventually, you’ll have the option of saving products you like so that you can buy them later.
Despite what you might think, Instagram isn’t taking a cut every time you tap a “shop now” link. Instead, it’s all about convincing advertisers to line up — they may be more likely to pay if they know that they can turn your ad view into a purchase within seconds. Also, the upcoming save feature is a not-so-subtle way of taking on Pinterest. While Pinterest isn’t limited to saving products from ads, you might have less reason to check it out if you can bookmark inspiring products on Instagram.
Source: Instagram Business
Facebook was rebuffed in its attempts to buy Snapchat and Mark Zuckerberg’s been like a jilted nerd ever since. The latest entry in his burn book comes courtesy of TechCrunch, which reveals that the social network tried to buy Snow, a Snapchat-esque service used in Asia. Snow was built by Navver, the South Korean company that created Line, to take advantage of Snapchat’s apparent lack of interest in all things Asian.
But not even a big stack of cash and a personal phone call from the Zuck himself was enough to seal a deal. Instead, Naver’s leaders believe that it can make Snow a big success without the help of the world’s biggest social network. Similarly, Snapchat has seen its value increase dramatically post-Facebook, and is in line to go public next year at a valuation of nearly $25 billion.
Like every good high school revenge movie, however, Zuckerberg isn’t going to let Snapchat ride off into the night. Facebook has been doing its best to rip off draw inspiration from its rival for the last few months with products like Instagram Stories. In addition, the core Facebook app now includes a selfie-filter camera (like Snapchat’s) and disappearing images that fade away after 24 hours (like… you get the idea).
When he isn’t busy cryptically teasing Beyond Good & Evil 2, game developer Michel Ancel laments (above) past projects lost to the sands of time. Like the Super NES version of Rayman that was scrapped in favor of the disc-based iterations for the Atari Jaguar and original PlayStation. As noticed by Motherboard, Ancel managed to find an old prototype cartridge and fired it up.
“It’s working !!! 4 people in the world have seen this . We thought it was lost , but somewhere in the cold electronic circuit, something was still alive . and running at full 60fps !!! should do a Switch version of this 😭”
Considering that Ancel and his team are already working on the upcoming PlayStation 4 exclusive Wild and the aforementioned Beyond Good & Evil sequel, maybe don’t expect to play this on Nintendo’s new console anytime soon. For starters, it isn’t clear if Ancel still has the original code to work from or would have to start over again from scratch. But since we’re still a ways off from Nintendo releasing the Switch, anything’s possible at this point if you dream hard enough.
A photo posted by Michel Ancel (@michelancel) on Oct 23, 2016 at 1:17am PDT
Source: Michel Ancel (Instagram) (1), (2), (3), (4)