Instagram launches some new WhatsApp features

Instagram, the image and video social network owned by Facebook, will soon add three new features that you’ll have already seen on other apps: GIFs, stickers and “last time online.” This information comes to us thanks to WABetaInfo, the number one source of news about WhatsApp and its Facebook-owned cousins.

As you can see from their tweet, the folks at WABetaInfo are quite critical of these new features, noting that WhatsApp and Instagram are becoming increasingly similar. Let’s bypass that issue and look at the features in more detail.

Regarding GIFs, apparently they will be available in Instagram Stories. To use them, simply search through the GIPHY search engine, which will be included in the app, and find the GIF you want.

As for stickers, indications are that they will be similar to Facebook Messenger stickers and Telegram: icons, somewhat larger than emojis and animated. These stickers can be used in direct messages and in comments on posts and we can give them a “like” (like the rest of the comments). For now, IG has stickers in the stories, but they’re now getting a more extensive rollout.

“Last online” is the final new feature coming to Instagram, and it works the same as it does on WhatsApp. Instagram users will now be able to see when their friends were last online, although it will only apply to direct messages.

With this new update, two things are clear. First, Instagram is betting heavily on the use of direct messages. For now, they are available to everyone, but they haven’t been widely picked up like other features, such as Stories.

Second, Facebook is increasingly replicating more features across all of their products, making them more and more similar. Maybe this portends a future merger between WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger? Facebook has told the European Commission that it isn’t considering such a merger, but with Facebook, but you never know (Facebook has already lied about the purchase of WhatsApp).

What do you think about the Instagram news? Do you like that it is becoming more like WhatsApp and Facebook?

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