To help people stay connected, Instagram has launched a new media sharing feature called Co-Watching.
According to Instagram’s announcement, the new feature allows you to browse your Instagram account (feed, liked photos, etc.) together with your friends over video chat, giving users a new way to communicate and stay connected.
The feature comes alongside several other COVID-19 updates, including a new “Stay Home” sticker and a wider rollout of Instagram’s donation sticker.
Here’s everything you need to know about Co-Watching on Instagram:
What is Co-Watching on Instagram?
Since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency in January, Instagram has taken a number of steps to help keep people informed, safe, and supported — and Co-Watching is part of this effort.
The new feature allows friends on a video chat or group video chat to browse through Instagram and share content with the group while still connected.
While Co-Watching was being tested as early as April 2019, according to a Business Insider article, the current state of affairs (aka near-global quarantine) spurred Instagram to get the feature out to users quickly.
“We decided to make it available soon so we could offer more ways for people to come together right now,” an Instagram spokesperson said.
Video-chatting has blown up in recent weeks, with companies like Zoom, Skype, and Hangouts all seeing massive growth due to COVID-19.
It will be interesting to see if Co-Watching has a similar effect on Instagram’s group video chat feature, which was first announced two years ago at the 2018 F8 Conference.
How to Use the Instagram Co-Watching Feature
Start a video chat by tapping the video chat icon in the Direct inbox or in an existing Direct thread.
Once you’re video chatting, tap the photo icon in the bottom left corner.
And that’s it! You can now browse your saved, liked, and suggested photos and videos with your friends.
Instagram’s Other Announcements
As mentioned, the launch of Co-Watching comes alongside several other COVID-19 responses from Instagram:
Including more educational resources in Instagram Search
Adding stickers to promote accurate information
Removing COVID-19 accounts from recommendations, unless posted by a credible health organization
Rolling out the donation sticker in more countries and helping people find relevant nonprofits to support
Creating a shared story to help those practicing social distancing connect with others, using a “Stay Home” sticker
What do you think of Instagram’s new Co-Watching feature? Will you be sharing photos and videos with friends over video chat?
Let us know in the comments!
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