Instagram launches Topic Channels in Explore, video chat in Direct & new camera effects
Instagram is now rolling out updates first announced at Facebook's F8 Developers Conference in May.
Last month, at the F8 Developers Conference, Facebook made a number of new announcements about coming features for Instagram. Yesterday, the company began rolling out the latest updates, which include bringing video chat to Instagram Direct, a new batch of camera effects and Topic Channels in Explore.
The video chat in Instagram Direct will allow up to four people at a time to talk via video as long as they’re already connected in Direct. If a user has blocked or muted someone in Direct, that person will not be able to enter or start a video chat via the platform.
The new camera effects include filters designed by Ariana Grande, BuzzFeed, Liza Koshy, Baby Ariel and the NBA. To have access to any of the new effects, users will have to follow the relevant accounts.
While the new camera effects and video chat feature are primarily consumer-driven features, the new Topic Channels in Explore will have the greater impact on brands and influencers. Instagram is using Topic Channels to organize content in the Explore tab, where content is curated based on a user’s behavior.
From the Instagram Press Blog:
With topic channels, you can be more intentional about how you navigate posts on Explore. When you open the page, you’ll see a tray at the top with personalized channels. This includes a ‘For You’ channel, which has a mix of posts tailored to your interests. You’ll also see channels on topic[s] you might like, such as Art, Sports, Beauty or Fashion, as well as a list of hashtags.
Instagram is also giving users the ability to control what Topic Channels show up in their Explore tab. A channel can be removed from a feed by pressing and holding down the channel to select the “Mute” option. Instagram says this will send the channel to the end of the “tray” and that channels can be unmuted at any time. Users can also swipe up on a channel to go deeper into topic contents.
Before Topic Channels, the Explore tab was a collection of posts tailored by Instagram to match the user’s interests. With channels now in place, Instagram will be able to curate more content and organize it by specific interest areas — giving users the chance to go deeper into specific topics, and brands and influencers more opportunity to have their content show up in front of the users who want to see it.
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