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Instagram Updates Stories, Confirms Live Video Is Coming

Earlier today, Instagram released new features for their Stories to help further separate them from the Snapchat stories idea that was borrowed earlier this year. Three months after initially releasing Stories, Instagram is making some major changes to them, bringing everything from mentions and links to Boomerang support to the table.

The Boomerang feature will allow users to create videos that play forward and backward, without needing to use the separate Boomerang app. A new format picker under the record button will allow users to select the new mode when recording a story.

Another new feature is Mentions, which will allow users to tag others in their story, just like has been possible with regular posts. The username will appear underlined in the story, allowing users to tap on it to view the profile. Don’t worry about being tagged in random stories without any notification, as Instagram will you a notification if you happen to be tagged in a story.

The last major feature is Links, allowing users to place a link in their Story. Unfortunately, while this feature sounds awesome and could be incredibly useful, it’s currently limited to verified accounts, with no word of a completely public release. When links are included, an option to swipe up to view the linked content will be included in the story.

All of these new features should help separate Instagram stories from Snapchat, which Instagram almost completely cloned at the initial launch. Over 100 million people use Instagram Stories each day, and the number is likely to grow as new features are added, drawing more people to create stories.

In addition to today’s major update, which is available on iOS, Android, and Windows 10, Instagram’s CEO, Kevin Systrom, has confirmed that live video will be making its way to the app, adding one more social network with the feature.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Systrom said, “Live is really exciting for us. I think it can enhance what we’re doing. If I’m trying to strengthen relationships with someone I love, them streaming video to me live would be an amazing way to be closer to them.”

It’s not yet clear how Instagram’s live video features will work, but from what people who have seen beta versions of the feature have said, live video feeds will show up at the top of the app in red, making them hard to miss.

Instagram is definitely working diligently to separate themselves from their competitors, and it seems to be working with the large amounts of people who use Instagram everyday. What are your thoughts on Instagram’s updates and the promise of live video being added?

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