Instagram has taken to its official blog to highlight a new feature arriving in both its Android and iOS applications, as of version 26, which allows users to send live video feeds through the app's Direct messaging feature. Better still, as per the announcement, Instagram says users can also send out their own stream of a live video that they are currently watching to another individual or group. The update to version 26 of the Instagram has, meanwhile, already launched. So anybody interested in checking for the update or checking out the new feature will want to click on the Google Play Button at the bottom of this article.
Using the live video Direct feature is fairly straightforward. Users simply need to go live and then tap on the Direct icon. That action will need to be followed up by said user selecting friend, follower, or group to share the video with. From there, whether or not the live feed is streamed depends on whichever friend the request was sent to, as friends will be presented with an invite to view the live video. Any user viewing the live feed can, in the meantime, click on their own Direct icon, in order to send the live feed to other users. Once the live session is over and the initiating user has ended the stream, it will no longer be viewable by any of the users. Of course, as is often the case with these kinds of app additions and particularly with regard to the newly added ability of followers to share live streams with others, there will understandably be some concerns about privacy among some users. In order to help alleviate any fears that users may have about just how widely spread their live feeds become, the update offers two options – both tied into the app's stories settings menu. First, controls have been added to completely disable the option to send live videos at all. Second, only followers will be able to view a given user's live streams, though it is important to note that only applies to counts set as private.
This latest update comes following several others that Instagram has made over the course of the year in an attempt to retain and recapture the imagination of users – while expanding on the capabilities of what is arguably among the world's most popular social applications. Most recently, the company also introduced hashtag-based following features, allowing users to follow hashtags instead of just other users. Although this most recent update is already rolling out, it bears mention that the update could take some time to hit every device. So users shouldn't be too worried if it has arrived for their own devices just yet.