From The Editors Technology

Instagram Rolls Out Live Ephemeral Video and Messaging

Facebook-owned Instagram has launched its version of the live video with features that will allow users to interact with their contacts on Instagram in an ephemeral sense, in that, it allows users to share photos and videos that will disappear after they see them.

However, there are no time limits on how long they can be viewed in a single sitting. You’ll also be notified when the person you’re messaging takes a screenshot or replays your message. Essentially, it is the perfect answer to Snapshot which provides similar features to its users where you can send disappearing photo and video messages to a friend, or groups of friends using the Stories camera.

Instagram Live lets you broadcast video to your followers in real-time, but they can only watch while you’re still streaming; once the streaming stops it can’t be replayed. It is a deviation from the version introduced earlier this year by its parent company, Facebook.

Promo shot of Instagram Live
Promo shot of Instagram Live

“Instagram is going from a place to share highlights to a place where you can share all of the moments of your day in a pressure-free space,” Instagram’s head of product Kevin Weil said in an interview. He said that the new Instagram features were attracting people of all ages and demographics.

“Now we’re launching live video in Instagram Stories and a totally new Instagram Direct,” Weil continued. “They’re both about being about to share the moments of your day with exactly the audience you want to share with.”

The two new Snapchat-like features of disappearing messages and the ability to broadcast live video have seen a sharp rise in the number of Instagram users globally. Both features announced Monday are intended “to give people the flexibility to capture and share all their moments in a fun, low-pressure way,” according to an Instagram spokesperson.

The app’s algorithms will notify the people you interact with the most when you go live and show popular broadcasts as they’re happening in the Explore section.

Instagram has put in place certain checks in order to make live streaming safer for users. Hosts of live videos can easily see the username and profile photo of whoever is watching their stream. And if viewers make any inappropriate or indecent comments, the host can hide individual comments, disable all commenting or throw individual users out of the stream. When live broadcast ends, users can see the stream duration and a total number of viewers.

The Facebook-owned app is further encroaching on Snapchat's territory.
The Facebook-owned app is further entrench on Snapchat’s territory.

In addition to ephemeral messaging, Instagram’s new live video features will be somewhat like Snapchat’s playbook. Shilpa Sarkar, the product manager for Instagram live, said the team drew inspiration from the way live video has emerged as a way that young people spend time together.

“The use case that caught our attention was people just hanging out on live, particularly young people,” she said. “After school, they jump on a live stream and hang out. That use of live is particularly interesting to us.”

The specialty of Instagram’s ephemeral Live and Direct updates is the total control of hosts over their audience. Knowing who is watching your live stream and the choice it gives you to decide who can watch is an attractive privacy feature. It means no one can snoop without the host knowing about it. It gives you the freedom to be yourself by choosing who you want yourself to be around.

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