In an age where messaging apps are more feature-packed than ever, Instagram is not resting on its laurels. A hacker recently revealed that Instagram is working on a location-sharing feature for its chat service. This move comes shortly after Apple introduced similar functionality to iMessage in the iOS 17 update. But that’s not all Instagram is up to; the platform has been adding a slew of new features aimed at making the chat experience more seamless and engaging.
Location Sharing in the Works
Alessandro Paluzzi, a known tech leaker, broke the news on Twitter that Instagram is “working on the ability to share location in chat.” While the feature is not yet available in the beta version, it has sparked conversations and speculation across the tech community.
— Alessandro Paluzzi (@alex193a) September 19, 2023
User reactions to the news were mixed. Some saw it as an innovative move, while others were quick to point out its resemblance to features recently added by other companies, notably Apple’s iMessage.
Playing Catch-Up or Setting a New Standard?
Apple’s recent update to iMessage included the ability to share locations, a feature that users have found incredibly useful. Instagram, owned by Meta, seems to be on the same trajectory. But this isn’t the first time Instagram has added features to boost its chat service. Here’s a rundown of what they’ve been up to:
Feature-Rich Chat Experience
Channels: A broadcast feature for creators to share one-to-many messages, including text, images, polls, and reactions.
Music Previews: Share a snippet of a song from Apple Music, Amazon Music, or the soon-to-be-supported Spotify and listen to it directly within the chat.
Silent Messages: Send messages without notifications by using the “@silent” tag.
Lo-fi Chat Theme: Customize your chat threads for a more personal and chill vibe.
Polls: Create polls directly within group chats.
Reply While Browsing: Reply to messages without leaving your feed.
Quickly Send to Friends: Reshare posts to close friends with a simple tap and hold action.
See Who’s Online: Know who’s available for a chat right from the top of your inbox.
Watch Together: Watch videos and shows with friends during a video call.
Chat Themes: Personalize your chat background with various themes and colors.
Selfie Stickers: Create boomerang stickers with your selfies for more engaging conversations.
Custom Emoji Reactions: Set up shortcuts for your favorite emojis.
Animated Message Effects: Add flair to your messages with animated effects.
Message Controls: Decide who can and can’t message you directly.
Instagram by the Numbers
As of December 2021, Instagram boasts more than 2 billion monthly active users worldwide, making it the second-largest social media platform after Facebook. The platform’s user base has seen exponential growth since its inception in 2010, outpacing competitors like Twitter, Snapchat, and TikTok.
Its user demographic is largely under 35, and the app is most popular in India, the United States, Brazil, Indonesia, and Russia. Notably, Instagram users are highly engaged, with 500 million of them using Instagram Stories every day.
Instagram’s latest foray into location sharing seems to be part of a broader strategy to make its chat service a one-stop shop for user interaction. While it’s true that Instagram is incorporating features found in other messaging apps, it’s also clear that they’re trying to carve out their own unique space in the crowded messaging app market.