Analysis of Instagram’s code has revealed several files that point to possible upcoming voice and video calling features, reports TechCrunch. The files are labeled “call” and “video call” with phone and camera icons that are present in the app’s Android application packages (APKs). APKs contain all of that app’s code and can show files for unreleased functions that are already present in the app but not yet launched.
If the features do go live, it would make Instagram an even bigger threat to Snapchat. Snapchat also has video calling, but it’s somewhat buried; you have to tap on a friend’s profile and select the call button in their specific chat screen. (Messenger, on the other hand, has a dedicated call button on the app’s launch screen.) Snapchat’s recent redesign has also been met with confusion and anger, so if Instagram can make the calling option straightforward, it just adds another reason for users to stay within the Instagram app.
Instagram is known to poach features from Snapchat like ephemeral videos and photos. (Instagram Stories already has more users than Snapchat.) Snapchat’s calling feature allows you to use AR Lenses, which overlay your face with things like dog ears or flower crowns. Instagram already has its own lenses for selfies, so it might be logical to expect lenses overlaid on video calls to be a feature on Instagram video calls, too.
There’s no indication yet if and when voice and video calling might launch.