At Day 1 of the F8 Developer conference on Tuesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a list of new features that are specifically arriving on Instagram. The Menlo Park, California-headquartered company is leveraging its expertise in Augmented Reality (AR) to offer interactive camera experiences on Instagram. Facebook has also brought a native video chat or calling functionality to Instagram to let users not just share their memories but also communicate face-to-face with other Instagram users. Further, Instagram has received GoPro and Spotify integration to enhance the user experience.
Among other features, Instagram has added AR Camera Effects that were initially a part of Facebook's AR Camera Effects Platform that was launched at F8 conference last year. These camera effects are designed by Instagram partners who will offer the AR experiences to their followers. This means that if you're following one of the Instagram partners' account, you'll soon start seeing some of its AR effects within the Instagram Stories feature. You'll just need to tap the 'Try it on' option and then the effect will be added to your tray. Notably, the Instagram users who are not following any of the participating Instagram partners will be able to find and add the effects by checking any of their friends' stories using those effects or using any of the direct messages the include those effects. Instagram is adding more effects in the coming future and these would come specifically from partners, including Ariana Grande, Baby Ariel, Liza Koshy, Vogue, and Buzzfeed.
If the AR Camera Effects aren't of use to you, Instagram will get a video chat or video calling feature globally in the coming weeks that will give you a way to interact either one-on-one with your contacts or with a small group. This new addition essentially makes the Instagram Live functionality private to enable video conversations between two users or a smaller group, rather than conversing widely across the Instagram platform. To start a video chat, you'll need to tap the camera icon located at the top of a Direct thread. You'll also be able to minimise the video at any time throughout our video chat while continuing to browse through Instagram.
Instagram has also announced app integrations, starting with GoPro and Spotify. The GoPro app will have the option to enable sharing of a photo or video as an Instagram Story or send it via Instagram Direct. The Spotify app, on the other hand, will get the option to share stickers of any particular songs or playlists directly to Instagram.
Lastly, Instagram has brought a redesigned Explore tab that makes discovery of new and interesting content easier than ever before. The gist of the Explore tab, which is to offer users with personalised photos and videos, still exists, but Instagram has now organised the content into topic channels to let users browse across their interests and pick their favourite content. By this way, users will also be able to have more control over the content appear in the Explore tab as they can pick only the topics they want to see instead of seeing various photos and videos randomly based on their interests and tastes. Moreover, the new Explore tab will be rolling out over the coming weeks.
In addition to the new features, Instagram is set to start filtering out bullying comments that are intended to harass or upset people in the community. The new bullying filter on the platform will hide comments that are aimed at a person's appearance or character, or are posted in the form of threats to a person's well-being or health. Nevertheless, as CEO Kevin Systrom said, Instagram will remain be an "inclusive, supportive place for all voices".