It is evident that Instagram means business with its video features after two new updates to the popular mobile app were launched, highlighting parent company Facebook's pursuit for enhanced instant video sharing.
The first of the upgrades to the app that records daily activity of more than 95 million photos and videos posted from over 300 million users, is a live video option for the Instagram Stories feature.
This comes within the same month as another set of updates, mentions and Boomerang on stories, that have now enabled users to interact on the videos and create looped content on the same platform.
The inclusion of live videos for Instagram users now opens a whole new world of possibilities that will increase the amount of content generated, which in turn will translate to more time spent on the platform, a combination of particular interest to Facebook since it started testing advertising on the application
With the new feature, users can now broadcast live videos of up to one hour with an option to allow comments from followers or disable them altogether.
The live broadcasts are however not stored and once a user ends a session, it disappears from the app. This is a contrast from Facebook's own live broadcast function which allows users the option to post the recorded video after the live session is ended.
Broadcasts from users an individual account follows will pop up on the Stories bar with the word "Live" under the particular account. Additionally, live broadcasts can also be seen on Explore, Instagram's enhanced search option that shows suggested accounts of interest to particular users.
The layout of the new feature oddly resemble Periscope, a mobile video broadcasting app owned by Twitter that was launched on March 26, 2015, but has faced challenges in uptake owing to its existence as a separate app rather than an in-app option within Twitter itself.
Another new feature announced in the latest updates is disappearing photos and videos in Instagram Direct, a feature which was itself released in December of 2013 to enable private sharing of photos and videos.
The disappearing messages are created by activating the in-app camera (either through the camera icon on the bottom panel of the app, or swiping right) then tapping on the paper plane icon which then allows the user to choose whether to send the private message to a single account or send it in a thread.
The private messages disappear once the recipients see them and as an addition a user gets a notification when a screenshot of the private message is taken. This is a stark similarity to mobile internet messaging app Telegram.
Since the launch of Instagram Direct, the number of users sharing clandestine content started out at 80 million and is now at 300 million a month according to the company. The added advantage of the private content disappearing will likely see this number grow.