Photo-sharing service Instagram today announced a staggered roll out of a pair of major new features in its mobile apps for iPhone and Android smartphones: one is the previously hinted live video functionality in Stories and the other gives you the ability to send and receive auto-disappearing photos and videos for groups and friends in Direct.
The two new features basically combine the best of Snapchat and Periscope without copying Facebook Live. Live video helps you connect with followers right now. When you’re done broadcasting, the live story automatically disappears from Instagram.
To begin broadcasting live on Instagram, swipe right from the feed to launch camera or tap the dedicated Camera button at the bottom, then tap Start Live Video.
Your followers receive a notification when you’re live. The number of viewers appears in the top right of the screen while comments can be see at the bottom.
While live, tap and hold a comment to pin it to the top for everyone to see or turn comments off altogether by tapping the three dots, then select Turn Off Commenting.
Any previously created keyword filters apply to comments on live videos, too. If your Instagram account was recently created, you may be unable to share a live video.
If a person you follow starts broadcasting live on Instagram, you’ll see a a colorful ring and “Live” on their profile photo in the Stories bar. You can like live videos like you would other media on Instagram (others can see when you like or comment) or tap the screen to hide comments and likes.
Additionally, Instagram’s Explore tab has been refreshed to include new live Stories to check out in a new “Top Live” section (swipe right and left to skip around).
Another new feature in Instagram allows users to send vanishing photos and videos directly to groups and individual friends “in a spontaneous, pressure-free way” via the built-in direct messaging feature that is being used by 300 million people each month.
After taking a photo or video in Instagram’s Camera, tap the arrow to send the media via Instagram Direct. You will be presented with a list of your contact. You can choose to select your media to a group or individual contacts.
Unlike other messages in Direct, any attached photos and videos disappear from your friends’ inboxes after they have seen them along with the message, and you’ll even see if they replayed it or took a screenshot (the status of that message below the conversation reads as “Replayed”, ”Screenshot” and so forth).
To replay a disappearing media you received, tap and hold the message you’d like to replay and choose Select Play Again. To reply to a vanishing photo or video message, tap the Camera button or swipe right and type to send text.
You can’t view disappearing photos or videos after you’ve sent them. Moreover, you are only allowed to send disappearing photos or videos to people who follow you or have already approved messages from you.
To open your Direct inbox, tap the new paper airplane icon at the top right corner of your feed or swipe left. Disappearing photos and videos sent to you appear in a bar at the top.
Tap the ones with blue rings to see what your friends sent you. In a group, you can see everyone’s responses—and who else has seen them—in a slideshow format. Then when you’re done, just tap their faded profile photo to send a quick response.
Disappearing photos and videos in Instagram Direct will start rolling out globally today.
As mentioned, live broadcasting on Stories isn’t available to everyone yet so check back a few days later if the feature isn’t live for you yet in Instagram 10.0 for iOS, a free download from the App Store.