Instagram is getting a major upgrade today. After hitting 1 billion users just last week and launching the new IGTV platform, the company is introducing two major new features: a redesigned Explore tab, and video calling.
Instagram is introducing new Topic Channels for Explore that will appear on top of the posts in Explore. Instagram will automatically find your interests and show different topic channels where you can find more posts about things you might be interested in. There’s a new For You channel which essentially combines the best posts from your interests, and then the other topic channels that consist of other posts. And if you don’t wanna see a certain channel or posts from that topic, you can simply mute that topic.
Instagram is also introducing video calling for Direct. The company is updating its messaging feature to include a video calling feature which will let you video call your friends or someone you follow — as long as they are also following you back. Direct also supports group video calls, and you can join a group video call anytime you want. When you are on a video call, you can continue browsing your feed and minimize the call to the corner.
Instagram is toying with the idea of introducing camera effects from content creators on its platform. The company is teaming up with Liza Koshy, Ariana Grande, BuzzFeed, Baby Ariel and NBA to introduce new effects that will appear for people who follow these accounts. “This is just the beginning. We’re excited to bring new effects from more of your favorite accounts to Instagram soon,” the company said in a blog post.
For Instagram, the redesigned Explore page and video calling on Direct will be crucial. The company just reached 1 billion users, and the introduction of Topic Channels on Explore could help boost the main way of discovering people and connecting on Instagram, which already has 200 million users every day.