Instagram might soon follow on the footsteps of Facebook-owned WhatsApp to add voice and video calling features. Instagram, which started as a photo-sharing platform, is likely to transform into one-stop shop for social messaging and staying in touch with friends in the future.
According to TechCrunch, Instagram app’s APK for Android has hidden codes and icons for “Call” and “Video Call” function. The function has been spotted in the platform’s codes as well as in its standalone Direct messaging app. While Instagram refused to comment on the existence of these features but an APK does typically indicate features developers plan to add to the app at a later stage.
Instagram has gained a lot of new features in the past year and it is widely seen as Facebook’s weapon to combat the popularity of Snapchat. With ability to make audio and video calls from within direct messages, Instagram would become an even bigger threat to Snapchat. Instagram Stories has already overshadowed Snapchat with more users than the platform it copied a year back.
However, it needs to be noted that Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp also offer the option to make voice and video calls. With the feature going live on Instagram, it has the potential to affect the reach of Messenger and WhatsApp. It will also further highlight Facebook’s failure to distinguish its services which are essentially copying each other’s core strengths.
If the feature goes live anytime soon then it will work simply by going to your DM and hitting the call button next to a contact. Instagram is estimated to have over 800 million monthly active users and its Stories feature alone has more than 300 million users globally. It has added features like alerting users when someone takes screenshot of their stories.
It needs to be seen whether Instagram gets voice and video calling feature, and also if it ends up cannibalizing Messenger and WhatsApp with the new feature.