nstagram has been crushing the competition for awhile now (looking at you, Kylie-Jenner-shunned-Snapchat), and is now looking to expand its territory of domination. As initially reported by TechCrunch, there are files in both Instagram and Instagram Direct’s Android Application Packages (or APKs) that suggest that there will soon be a “Call” and “Video Call” function available.
That means that Instagram could soon not only be a photo app, but a full-blown chatting app, too. And given that these icons were found in the standalone Instagram messaging app, it looks as though we may be expecting audio and video calling within the Instagram Direct system.
This isn’t the first time that rumors have surfaced around the possibility of a video call feature within Instagram. In January, the blog WAbetainfo spotted an image of a video call button, which turned out to be testing internally at the Facebook-owned company. At the time, Instagram refused to comment on the rumored new feature, and the company is still maintaining its tight-lipped stance. As TechCrunch noted, when approached about the APK evidence, a spokesperson said simply, “I’m afraid we can’t comment on this one.”
Of course, given that APKs are publicly available (though admittedly difficult to break down and fully understand), it’s not as though Instagram is attempting to keep things a grand secret. That said, figuring out the exact timing of a video call or calling feature will be a bit more difficult.
All the same, whenever it does launch, it’ll make Instagram uniquely situated among a wide variety of apps to serve multiple purposes. While Snapchat does have a video calling feature of its own — which allows you to overlay a variety of its famous AR filters atop your face as you chat live — it doesn’t have a strictly calling feature. Similarly, while messaging apps like Skype or WhatsApp will allow you to make calls, they don’t offer the same visual stimulation that Instagram does.
And given Instagram parent company Facebook’s own familiarity with calls (the Messenger app launched video calling in 2015, a couple years after debuting VoIP audio calls), it comes as little surprise that the photo sharing app is now taking cues from a rather experienced expert.