Instagram may soon bake voice & video calling functions into its app that no one asked for

Photo-sharing service Instagram could be working on voice and video-calling functions.

TechCrunch reader Ishan Agarwal reportedly has managed to spot a bunch of PNG image files within the the Android version of Instagram which appear to depict multiple versions of a telephone handset along with pictograms resembling the old FaceTime Video icon.

The file names are also indicative of Instagram’s intention to seemingly bring audio and video calling to the service: “call.png”, “action_call.png” and “video_call.png”.

Other items in the bundle include XML files that apparently reference calling features with such file names as “dismissable_callout.xml”, “social_connect_call_to_action.xml” and so forth.

Now that these buttons are present in the app, it’s going to be hard for Instagram to deny the coming launch. “Last month it gave me a no comment when TechCrunch spotted a new Giphy GIF sharing feature which then launched a week later,” writes TechCrunch’s Josh Constine.

Instagram users will presumably be able to call people they follow and there may be the option to restrict audio and video-calling features to only allow pings from people they follow back.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen evidence that Instagram wants to be your phone, not just your camera. In January, the WAbetainfo blog spotted an image of a video-calling button in one of Instagram’s Android builds.

Florianópolis, Brazil-based iOS developer Guilherme Rambo has found further evidence that video calling is coming to Instagram’s iPhone app, though it’s clearly not ready just yet. As shown on the screenshot top of post, the iPhone app packs in a hidden permission screen seeking access to the camera and microphone “so you can start sharing video and audio.”

TechCrunch thinks that Instagram may implement the audio and video-calling features within its Direct messaging system, which would indeed make a lot of sense. Personally, however, I think this absurd aping of Snapchat’s features needs to stop, especially if you consider that calling functionality would pose the risk of potentially diluting the app’s experience.

Do you think it makes sense for a photo-sharing app like Instagram to have calling features?

Let us know by leaving your comment below.