Instagram Direct Video Chat Launches With Other New Features

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Instagram Direct's video chat feature is launching today with some other new features to improve the user experience for Instagram. In addition to the video chat feature Instagram is also rolling out the topic channels in Explore feature and some new Stories camera effects, though the features may not yet be visible to all users right away and may require an app update, or Instagram may just need to turn things on server-side and could be rolling the features out in stages.

Since video chat is part of the Instagram Direct feature within the Instagram app, users will be able to find the video chat option by going into Direct, then entering any chat with another user and tapping on a new camera icon that will be located in the top right corner of the user interface. Video chat is private and only with the users you choose to include, and you can even continue to chat with your friends or family members while browsing through your feed and using other features, as Instagram has made it possible to minimize the video chat to a small panel in the corner of the screen.

If you minimize the video you can go back into that same Direct chat and share photos and links to other content so you can see the reactions of people you're chatting with as they view something you think they might also enjoy, giving the chat a more personal touch. Video chat supports up to four people at a time but doesn't require you to have all four people. You can also only video chat with someone if you have an active Direct thread open with them, meaning you have to open a chat before you can video chat another user, though this excludes anyone whom you've blocked as video chat will be disabled between you and those users. In regards to the new Topic Channels, you should see these at the top of the Explore page, and can be about anything from Art to Food to Travel. If you use Stories, there are a a handful of new effects to choose from which have been designed by recognizable figures such as Ariana Grande, the NBA, and even Buzzfeed.

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