Instagram has just unveiled a brand-new feature that lets you video call your friends while simultaneously scrolling through the app at the same time.
Video calling seems to be the big new feature this year as Instagram is following in the footsteps of Snapchat which unveiled its own video calling feature in April and Facebook which confirmed that WhatsApp was also getting group video calling later this year.
It is not in and of itself a new technology, it is however one that’s being increasingly adopted as data costs go down allowing us all to use more data for less money.
With so many different options available to you, you might be wondering why you would need a video calling option within Instagram.
How does Instagram Video Call work?
It works directly within the iOS or Android app so you don’t need to download anything and it should just be available to use right now.
For Instagram its USP is a simple one: You can talk AND scroll at the same time.
So while you start the video call in the Direct Messages part of the app, you can actually minimise the call and carry on scrolling if you just can’t live without seeing the latest images.
It doesn’t look like Instagram is looking to replace Skype or FaceTime, instead this is about adding a convenience feature that’s in keeping with the current trends.
What’s odd is that Instagram now offers group video calls before WhatsApp, Facebook’s other acquisition.
What are the other apps I can use?
Video calling is the feature to have right now so you won’t be surprised to learn that there are no shortage of competitors that also offer video chat.
Group calling is the main attraction though and it seems that we’re currently experiencing an arms race between the tech giants of who can cram as many people into a group chat as possible.
If only chatting to one person just simply isn’t enough, here’s how the competition stacks up:
- Instagram video call: 4 people
- Snapchat: 16 people (or 32 people if it’s just over voice)
- Skype: 25 people
- Facebook Messenger: 50 people
- Google Hangouts: 25
- FaceTime: 2 (Apple adding 32 in September with iOS 12)
Then there’s also the extra features that each of these apps can offer. FaceTime for example lets you carry on using the rest of your smartphone while you’re chatting. Of course it then comes with the downside that it only works between Apple devices.
Messenger on the other hand allows you to chat to a whopping 50 people but again this comes with the trade-off that you’ll only be able to actually see about six of them.