Social media is about to get more social — on Instagram anyway. The photo-sharing company is reportedly testing a new feature that would let friends watch videos together even when they’re apart.
Facebook, which owns Instagram, already has a similar feature in the form of Watch Party, which is to say isn’t one bit surprising. Messenger too might have it soon. It was reported back in November that the app’s code contains an unreleased “Watch Videos Together” feature.
The same feature, meanwhile, has been found buried within Instagram’s code, only it’s called “co-watch content,” as TechCrunch reports.
It remains unclear what users may be able to watch together, but it stands to give IGTV, Instagram’s YouTube-like clone, a much-needed boost. Either way, TechCrunch notes co-watching would give Instagram a chance to display more ads and drive more attention to creators. More importantly, it would convince people to downright spend more time using the app even if they don’t upload or share anything while doing it.
The code was discovered by researcher Jane Manchun Wong, who’s spotted a lot of unreleased features on apps, including Messenger’s still-unreleased Watch Together. Instagram’s co-watch content, she found out, comes from a “Playlist” that’s akin to the video queues on Facebook Watch Party sessions administrators can cook up. But there’s also a “Suggested” tab, which would be curated by Instagram itself.
TechCrunch reached out to Instagram to clarify details about the feature, but it declined to offer any further information. This is, however, typical of a company, especially when the subject of discussion is a feature that’s still in testing and is therefore not yet ready for mainstream rollout.
Not all features make the cut, but there’s a huge chance this one will. Facebook Watch Party, released in July 2018, and by November in the same year, there were 12 million sessions started and eight times the number of comments generated, which is all to say that co-watching gets more eyes on the screen.