Instagram adds live video and ephemeral photos and video in messages

Facebook-owned Instagram is finally jumping on the live video-streaming bandwagon.

Taking on Snapchat and Twitter’s Periscope, Instagram on Monday said that it’s releasing live video for a feature called “Stories,” which allows users to post photos and videos that disappear within 24 hours. More than 100 million people on Instagram use Stories, which was released in the summer and is identical to a tool offered by Snapchat.

The tech firm is also releasing a new feature that lets users send ephemeral photos and videos in direct messages to their friends. These photos and videos disappear from a user’s inbox once the recipient opens them.

Instagram is known for its beautiful photos and videos, but the company has been releasing new features that could take pressure off from users who are hesitant to share more raw content on the social media site because it isn’t as perfect-looking.

“When you’re done, your live story disappears from the app so you can feel more comfortable sharing anything, anytime,” the company said in a blog post.

Instagram, which is popular with teens, also faces competition from Snap, the parent company of Snapchat that has reportedly filed confidentially for an initial public offering.

Both of Instagram’s new features will start rolling out globally to the company’s more than 500 million users.

In October, Instagram celebrated its 6th birthday and has been preparing for more growth. COO Marne Levine told this newspaper in an interview that she expects that more social media users will start sharing more “moments that make up the human experience in between.”

Research firm eMarketer projects that Instagram will hit $6.84 billion in revenue in 2018 worldwide, up from an estimated $1.86 billion this year. The firm also expects that Instagram will make up about 18 percent of Facebook’s global net mobile ad sales in 2018.

Photo: The front lobby at Instagram headquarters features streaming visual content in Menlo Park, Calif., on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. (Gary Reyes/Bay Area News Group)

 

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