Is Instagram about to launch live videos?

Following the likes of Facebook, Periscope and other apps, Instagram looks set to jump on the live video bandwagon.

Meryl D'Souza October 24, 2016

Remember when Instagram blatantly ripped off Snapchat just to look cooler? They’re not stopping with stories. A Nexus 6P user in Russia using a beta version of Instagram spotted an experimental feature: live videos.

The screenshots – sent in by the user to Russian news site T Journal – reveal a “Live” icon lined up with various Instagram Stories. Tapping the icon led to a "popular live broadcasts" page, which didn’t load. Ironically, it looks like the feature is still being tested out and isn’t ready to go live, yet.

Additionally, T Journal shows a couple of photos showing a user interface for recording a story, with one bearing a “Go Insta” button, presumably triggering the aforementioned live feed. There is also a “Schedule” option at the top for what we can only guess would be a way to publish your videos at a later, set time. 

While it's difficult to say whether this is a random experiment or a stealthy test of the new feature, it’s easy to see why Instagram would want to enter the live video streaming domain. In its quest to overtake Snapchat as the most popular photo sharing app, Instagram needs to pull out every trick in the book. 

The feature will follow in the footsteps of other apps that already allow live videos, including Periscope, Meerkat and Facebook – Instagram’s parent company. Facebook only launched live videos earlier this year but the feature has proved to be hugely popular and effective, with Facebook ensuring that a user’s live video is given preference when it comes to showing up on news feeds.

Importantly, it's also proving to be a new and valuable marketing tool for companies, which is hugely important given the social media industry is still learning how to turn their billion dollar valued companies into actual cash. 

As of right now, the feature is only available on the beta version of the app for Android in Russia. It may be a while before other regions, including the Middle East, get to see the feature in action. Until then, why not perfect your skills for a better Instagram feed.