Instagram Adds Live Video, Disappearing Photos and Videos

Instagram announced two major updates Monday morning: live video in Instagram Stories and its latest nod to Snapchat, disappearing photos and videos in its Instagram Direct messaging feature.

Instagram announced two major updates Monday morning: live video in Instagram Stories and its latest nod to Snapchat, disappearing photos and videos in its Instagram Direct messaging feature.

The Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing network said in a blog post that live video in Instagram Stories and in its Explore section will roll out globally “over the next few weeks,” adding:

It’s easy to go live–just swipe right from feed to open the camera, tap the “Start Live Video” button and start sharing for up to one hour. Your friends may get a notification when you go live so they can tune in. While you’re live, you can pin a comment for everyone to see or turn comments off altogether.

When someone you follow starts a live story, you’ll see “Live” under their profile photo in the stories bar. During the broadcast, you can comment and like as much as you want. You can also check out new live stories on Explore. Tap “Top Live” to see exciting live stories happening at that moment and swipe right and left to easily skip around.

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Meanwhile, disappearing photos and videos for friends and groups via Instagram Direct will begin rolling out globally Monday, and Instagram said in its blog post that Instagram Direct now has 300 million monthly active users, up from 80 million last year.

Instagram provided the following instructions for creating and viewing disappearing photos and videos:

Swipe right into the camera to take a photo or video, and then tap the arrow to send it privately. You can choose a group or create one in just a few taps–and you can also send to individual friends at the same time. Send anything you want, from inside jokes to your worst selfies. Unlike other messages in Direct, these photos and videos disappear from your friends’ inboxes after they have seen them. And you’ll see if they replayed it or took a screenshot.

Whether your account is set to public or private, you can only send disappearing photos and videos to people who follow you.

To open your inbox, tap the new paper airplane icon at the top right corner of your feed or swipe left. You’ll see disappearing photos and videos 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.

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Instagram added in an Instagram for Business blog post that the same restrictions on disappearing photos and videos only being sent to followers apply to business accounts, as well.

Readers: What are your initial thoughts on Instagram’s two big updates? David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.