Back in January this year, we came across a report that Instagram could be testing the video calling feature. Given that Facebook has already rolled out this feature to Messenger and WhatsApp, it is not surprising to see the same as a part of Instagram as well. Back then this feature was stated to be under testing and was expected to be implemented this quarter itself.
While we are yet to get an official confirmation from Instagram regarding the support for video calls, a TechCrunch report citing the APK of Instagram and Instagram Direct apps show files and icons for calls and video calls. APK (Android Application Packages) usually show files for unreleased features waiting to be launched. This makes us believe that Instagram is in plans to introduce voice and video calling features in its Direct standalone app.
The report cites a screenshot of one its readers Ishan Agarwal. The screenshot shows files for voice and video calling features shared on Twitter. The report also quotes an Instagram spokesperson stating "I'm afraid we can't comment on this one". Given that these icons are in the Instagram APK, the company cannot deny the claim as it is testing the feature.
How is it going to be useful?
If Instagram rolls out the voice and video calling support, then it would make the platform a better alternative to Snapchat. Notably, Snapchat introduced video calling in 2014 and came up with audio and video notes in 2016 to enhance this feature. Instagram has been mimicking Snapchat in terms of Stories and privacy controls so long.
Facebook Messenger experimented VoIP audio calling back in 2013 and video calling in 2015. It also came up with the split-screen group video calls in 2016. With these new features, 400 million users benefited from the voice and video calling features per month on Messenger last year making it popular.
If Instagram implements the voice and video calling features, then we can expect the platform to steal the spotlight from Snapchat with its visually appealing nature. This feature can help people showcase their lives to their friends and followers in a better way.