Instagram has been steadily beefing up its Direct Messaging feature in recent months, as it has begun to toy with the idea of spinning out messaging into its own, separate app. Among its more recent tweaks was last month’s added option for photo and video message replays, and earlier enhancements like support for web links and different photo orientations. Today, it’s rolling out another change — users can now privately send live videos over Direct Messaging.
This includes your own live video, the company says, or you can share a live video you’re currently watching with a friend or group of friends.
While the former option is largely a tweak on video chatting — a way to broadcast privately to friends — the latter seems to be more a challenger to a rising crop of “co-watching” and video chat apps.
For example, Google has Uptime, an experimental app for co-watching YouTube videos, launched out of its in-house incubator, Area 120. The idea here is that a group of friends can virtually “hang out” on their phones, while streaming, chatting and reacting to videos with emojis.
Others operating in this space include Tumblr’s Cabana, Let’s Watch It and iMessage app Fam, to name a few. Skype even said it was working on a feature like this.
The key idea here is that kids today don’t always spend time together in person, but they still “hang out” through their phones. Thanks to more powerful hardware and camera systems, they’re able to now do so through video.