Instagram brings video calls and other cool features

On Tuesday, Instagram is rolled out video chatting within Direct, which will allow you to talk to up to four people at once.

To initiate a video call you simply need to launch the feature through the Direct tab. Video calls can support one-on-one conversations or a group of up to four people. You’ll also need to have a Direct thread going, which means both people will have to agree to the connection. And if you block or mute someone, they won’t be able to initiate a video call with you.

Meanwhile, the new Explore tab features a carousel of icons at the top of the screen that will make it easier than ever to find content you want to see. There will be new topics to choose from, including architecture, photography, animals, and more. Once you select one, the Explore page will populate a variety of content to see across the platform.

Instagram is also rolling out custom AR filters for Stories. Third-party creators will finally be able to share their creations, and Instagram is offering filters from the NBA, Ariana Grande, BuzzFeed, and others. These are lenses that use augmented reality to spruce up the visuals.

This news comes fresh on the heels of last week’s major video-focused announcement, the launch of Instagram’s long-form video hub, IGTV. Today’s release could spell trouble for another video chat app, HouseParty, which is currently popular with the under-24 crowd.

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