Instagram, the popular photo-sharing network owned by Facebook, has been steadily gaining more features over the years. We last covered Instagram’s upcoming features in November, which included regrams, stories archives, GIF search, and more. The app also gained an alpha channel in December, where users can test the newest features. Now, the social network is preparing to take a significant step beyond its existing functionality. It will soon launch voice and video calling in an effort to compete with apps such as Snapchat, which remains one of the few competitors to Facebook’s dominance in the social networking space.
It’s worth noting that Facebook’s other social apps, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, already support voice and video calling. They have more than a billion active users as well, which Instagram can’t hope to match because of its niche purpose for photo sharing. However, the addition of voice and video calling is a significant addition.
XDA reader @IshanAgarwal24 notified us via Twitter that Instagram was preparing to launch voice and video calls. We decided to confirm this for ourselves by doing an APK teardown of the app.
<string name="videocall_ended">Video Chat Ended</string> <string name="videocall_left">You left the chat</string>
The strings clearly indicate that Instagram will have a video chat option (in addition to voice calling, which is shown in the screenshot) in the future, similar to Snapchat. There will be standard messages letting the user know that either the video chat has ended or the user has left the chat.
The addition of voice and video calling to Instagram will significantly enhance the app’s feature set. It will be on par with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger in this regard and it will bring the network to feature parity with Snapchat. As of now, there are no indications about the time frame for the feature’s launch, but it’s reasonable to expect an official announcement in the coming weeks.