Instagram adds group video chat and redesigned explore tab

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Instagram is becoming a full blown communication platform.
Photo: Instagram

Communicating with your friends on Instagram just got a lot more fun with a new update today that brings group video chat to the photo-sharing social network.

Instagram previewed the new video chat feature last month at Facebook’s developer conference, but now all users can take advantage of the new feature that lets you connect with friends whether they’re on iOS or Android.

Creating a video chat with up to four friends is super easy. Just swipe into your Direct inbox, open any message thread, then tap the new camera icon in the right corner. The app will then ring your friends’ phones so they can join in. It works even if you don’t have a phone number.

During video chats you can minimize the video window so you can still browse Instagram, send DMs, post to your story or whatever else you do in Instagram. You can chat with up to four people. And if you miss the start of the call you can join in later by going to the group chat and tapping the blue camera icon.

The update also includes some UI changes to the Explore tab. At the top, you’ll see different sections to choose from. The For You section is the default, but there are also categories for sports, travel, nature, style, art, music and much more.

Instagram added some new camera effects too. Ariana Grande, Buzzfeed, Liza Koshy, Baby Ariel and NBA collaborated with the company on the new video filters. If you follow any of those accounts you’ll see the new video effects in the camera app. More effects are coming to other accounts soon.