Instagram announced today that it is adding live videos and disappearing photos to its photo-sharing service. These features are clearly aimed at competitors like Facebook and Snapchat.
“Instagram Stories [are] a way to share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile,” the Instagram blog explains. “We’ve seen stories open up a new side of what people share on Instagram, and now over 100 million people use it every day. With today’s announcement, you’ll soon have two more ways to share freely and in the moment.”
The live video feature will debut “over the next few weeks,” Instagram says, and is clearly aimed at Facebook’s live video functionality. As part of Instagram Stories, it will let you share live video as it happens, and then the video will disappear from the app, never to be seen again. Your friends will be notified when you’re broadcasting live video so they can see what you’re up to. Those friends who are currently broadcasting live video will appear as a profile photo at the top of the app with the word “LIVE” under their picture.
Disappearing photos, meanwhile, is clearly aimed at Snapchat. This feature will let you send photos and videos directly to groups and individual friends “in a spontaneous, pressure-free way,” Instagram says. And then they disappear. This feature is being added to Instagram Direct, which is the service’s way of letting users send direct messages to each other.
“Unlike other messages in Direct, these photos and videos disappear from your friends’ inboxes after they have seen them,” Instagram explains. “And you’ll see if they replayed it or took a screenshot.”
Wait, wait. Took a screenshot? So you can’t stop people from stealing a photo you intended to keep private? Interesting.
Disappearing photos and videos in Instagram Direct will start rolling out globally today.