Saturday, November 26, 2016


These days it’s getting as if all the apps to be found for our mobile devices are starting to take features from one another now. It’s probably out of some sense of trying to attract users of a competing app to try out the other instead, and hopefully have them stay on as new “converts”. It’s understandable as the saturation of functionally similar apps and rising costs have seen some of these either shut down or set up to be acquired by another app company, and then be shut down if they’re unfortunate. But I’m starting to digress. Anyway, here’s the news.

According to Tech Crunch, Instagram of Facebook had on Monday November 21 revealed its latest features for their loyal users on Android and iOS. What’s interesting is that these new abilities would be familiar to anyone who’s ever used Twitter’s Periscope and Snap Inc.’s Snapchat. Yep, that means the things you can do with these new features are not permanently stored, but temporary instead. Not at all like Instagram’s usual service but enjoyable in other ways.

Like Snapchat, Instagram Direct Ephemeral can now send your photos, doodles and text included, as direct messages to your circle of close followers. The snag here is that upon receiving your direct Instagram, they’ll be able to view the thing a total of two times before it’s automatically purged.

And in the vein of Periscope, Instagram Live Ephemeral will now enable you to take video footage and broadcast it as a real-time live feed to your followers. The catch this time is that the video’s only available for as long as you’re actively live-streaming; once you sign off, they can’t replay your vid anymore. About the only means of seeing a list of sorts for anything interesting captured on Instagram Live is a curated page where all the most watched and liked Instagram Live feeds are ranked, although as I’ve said earlier, as soon as the user ends it, the feed’s gone forever.

Why the push of this new shift in services? Instagram product head Kevin Weil explains, “We pivoted. Instagram should be all of your moments, not just your highlights.” In other words, the new features are geared towards users who want to capture moments in the here and the now, without regard for considerations like looking good and drawing attention to important events. In a way, according to Weil, the balance of users will shift from the celebrities and public faces with Instagram accounts and more towards the everyday users, like in Snapchat and Periscope. The security and privacy concerns are also somewhat addressed in the new features, hopefully attracting more to try it out on Instagram.

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