Facebook-owned Instagram has been continually pushing improvements and features to take on its rival Snapchat. After picking up Stories and Stickers feature, the photo-sharing platform is now said to be bringing voice and video calling features, same as WhatsApp. A report from TechCrunch (spotted by a Twitter user-Ishan Agarwal), cites multiple references for voice and video calls in the latest Instagram for Android alpha release as well on Instagram Direct Android app. A variety of image files with titles such as “call.png”, “video_call.png”, and “action_call.png” were found buried in the Instagram’s APK code. Apart from calls icons, several layouts that mention calls and video calls are found in the Instagram’s Direct standalone app.
References to video calls also appeared in the iOS version, according to an image posted by a Twitter user. It is a common practice to have files for unreleased features in APKs, which are lying dormant in the app waiting to surface when the company is ready to launch them.
So it appears Instagram could soon not only be a photo app but a full-blown chatting app, too. Also since these icons were found in the standalone Direct app, it looks as though Instagram is preparing to bring audio and video calling within its Direct Messaging feature.
Instagram, however, has refused to comment on the rumoured new features. A spokesperson for the company told TechCrunch, “I’m afraid we can't comment on this one.”
However, this isn’t the first time that rumours have surfaced around the possibility of a video call feature within Instagram. Back in January, an image of a video call button was spotted by the WABetaInfo blog that appeared to be testing internally.
Though it is unclear when Instagram will launch these new features, but since the buttons are now in public APK, the new audio and video calling features can be expected sooner rather than later.