Instagram is launching a new feature called “Live Rooms”, letting up to four people stream their conversations to the world.
The feature is a development on the existing video chat feature, which let just two people converse in front of the public during an Instagram live.
Just as they can now, users will be able to add other people to their chats, and up to four of them will be able to speak as if they are in a video call. That video call is then broadcast, live, to all of their followers, who will receive a notification telling them that the conversation is going on.
The feature is similar to Clubhouse, the wildly popular app which also allows people to broadcast a live feed of conversations with more than 10 people. Facebook has also been rumoured to be launching a full Clubhouse competitor of its own, however.
Instagram suggested the feature could be used for a wide range of different videos – not just podcasts, which is something like a Clubhouse chat, but also “jam sessions” and “just hanging out with their friends”, it said in a blog post.
It also noted that such features have become popular during lockdowns, allowing people to host conversations that might ordinarily have happened in real life – as well as entirely kinds of chats.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve seen people on Instagram embrace Live in different ways. In the past year, special moments have happened on Live, including informational talks about science and COVID-19 guidelines, interviews with celebrities and record-breaking rap battles,” Instagram wrote in a blog post.
“Creators of all kinds — from fitness instructors to musicians, beauty bloggers, chefs and activists, all relied on Live to create moments and bring people together to reach their communities in creative ways. We can’t wait to see what more creativity comes from this highly-requested update.”
Recently, Instagram launched a feature on its Live platform that allows viewers to buy badges for people they follow, allowing them to “show their love” for the people they are watching. That same feature will be available in the Live Rooms, and so will other tools such as shopping and live fundraisers.
The feature is used by swiping left and choosing the “Live camera” option – that will open a page to begin the live itself, including choosing a name and adding guests. Guests can be added at the start or throughout, which Instagram suggested could be used to “start with two guests, and add a surprise guest as the third participant later”.
Instagram noted that going live with multiple guests will probably increase the reach of your profile, given that each of the guests’ followers will be notified.
The feature comes with a range of safety features. Any account that is blocked by any of the participants will not be able to join, for instance, and anyone who has been banned from the Live features already will be banned from Live Rooms too.