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Instagram’s video chat and new custom AR filters arrive today

Instagram’s video chat and new custom AR filters arrive today


The filters come from celebrities and influencers

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Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Back at its F8 developers conference, Facebook announced a whole suite of new Instagram features that may have a big impact on just how social the photo-sharing app lets you be. Now, starting today and on the heels of the company’s IGTV launch, those features are all arriving on iOS and Android. That includes Instagram’s new video chatting feature, its custom AR filters designed by third parties like celebrities and influencers, and the new Explore tab redesign.

Video chatting can be initiated from the Instagram Direct tab with either one other person or in a group of up to four people total. It will only work with people you already have an active Direct thread with, which requires both parties to respond. Blocking or muting someone will also disable that person’s ability to video chat with you. The Explore redesign is also turning the search tab into a topic-focused area where you scroll through categories like “animals” or “architecture,” as well as trending hashtags.

The most interesting new update to Instagram is the custom AR filters for Stories. For the first time, Instagram is letting third parties create these filters, and it’s starting the launch with ones from Ariana Grande, the NBA, and BuzzFeed, among others. Like the Snapchat lenses that popularized the AR-style camera effects, these new Instagram filters will let you augment a photo or selfie with virtual effects and objects. And if you spot an AR filter being used on an image or video in someone else’s Story, Instagram is adding an option to add it to your own personal effects toolkit to try it out.