Instagram is announcing a suite of new features that could be big focuses for the company in 2023, including a BeReal clone called Candid Stories, the ability to post very short text “Notes,” and groups.
Candid Stories appear to mirror much of what has made BeReal popular. You’ll be able to share an image that includes a snapshot from both your front and back cameras, and you’ll be able to take a candid from a daily notification reminder. You’ll also be able to snap candids from the Stories camera or a multi-author Story.
Instagram confirmed it was testing this feature earlier this year, and Candid Stories will launch first as a test in South Africa beginning Tuesday, according to The Wall Street Journal. If you just want to take a photo with the front and back cameras at the same time, you can already do that thanks to the Dual feature Instagram announced in July.
The new Notes, on the other hand, aren’t the Twitter alternative you may be hoping for. Notes are quite short, topping out at 60 characters of text and emoji as opposed to Twitter’s 280. And they won’t appear in a feed. You can only share them with a limited group of people (“followers you follow back or people on your Close Friends list,” Instagram says), and they only appear as little chat bubbles above your profile pic in their DM inbox.
To me, Notes look to function more like old-school AIM statuses than a tweet. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Statuses are fun! Though hopefully the short length will prevent Notes that are vaguely pointed emo song lyrics. Notes are rolling out now.
The new groups appear to work as you might expect. Instagram is calling them “Group Profiles,” and anything shared to the “profile” will remain only in that profile. Instagram says these are coming “soon,” and the WSJ reports they are already in testing in Canada, Chile, and Taiwan. But if you’re looking for a different way to collect interesting posts to share with your friends, Instagram is testing a feature called “Collaborative Collections,” which will let you save posts to groups or one-on-one DM conversations.