Facebook’s Instagram is letting third parties tap into the social network’s 800 million-plus user base in new ways — including letting Spotify and other apps share directly into Instagram Stories and opening up augmented-reality camera effects to partners.
Instagram also outlined plans for group-based video chats and said it will soon roll out a redesigned version of the app’s Explore section to group posts thematically. The new features are among the passel of announcements coming out of Facebook’s F8 developers conference, which runs May 1-2 in San Jose.
For the first time, Instagram will let apps post content directly into Instagram Stories (a feature that also will be coming to Facebook Stories).
Initial partners include Spotify — so you can share a sticker of songs, playlists or albums to an Instagram Story — and GoPro, to share recent action shots from the GoPro camera app. The Spotify integration will be available to everyone on Instagram starting Tuesday, with Facebook’s integration coming soon along with other third-party partners.
To use use the feature, Instagram users can tap the “share” button in the Spotify or GoPro app and the content is pulled directly into the Instagram camera. From there, they can edit and add to the Story or send it to a friend via direct messaging. Instagram noted that you don’t have to connect your Instagram account to other apps in order to share to Stories.
In another first, Instagram is letting third parties create AR effects for their followers — including face filters and world effects — using Facebook’s Camera Effects Platform. Facebook also is bringing support for third-party AR filters to Facebook Messenger and Facebook Lite apps.
Instagram’s initial AR partners include the National Basketball Assn., Condé Nast’s Vogue, and BuzzFeed, and celebs and influencers Kylie Jenner, Ariana Grande, Jiffpom (an Instagram-famous Pomeranian pooch), Liza Koshy, and Baby Ariel. The AR effects from them will roll out in the coming weeks, and Instagram expects to announce other partners soon.
For example, Instagrammers will be able to try out Kylie Jenner’s favorite lipstick colors in their selfies; add a cloud of hearts and Pomeranians from Jiffpom; or turn any video into an NBA “DunkCam” moment.
On another front, Instagram is testing a group video chat feature, which it plans to roll out globally soon. More than 100 million users watch or stream video on Instagram Live every day, according to the company. But users said they also want to engage in real-time video sessions in smaller, private groups.
With the new video-chat feature, Intagram users must tap the new camera icon at the top of a direct-messaging thread. Users are able to chat one-on-one or with a group, and can minimize the video and continue the chat while looking at other content on Instagram.
In addition, Instagram said it’s redesigning the Explore section of the app, which will roll out over the next few weeks. Content will now organized into “topic channels,” designed to let users browse across their interests, instead of clumping recommended posts in a single view.