Tech News

Instagram’s IGTV could soon challenge YouTube’s dominance

June 21, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Instagram was born as a simple photo-sharing app in 2010, but it began moving into video in 2013, when it started letting users upload short clips. Now, five years after making that initial push into the space, the company plans to take its efforts even further with the launch of IGVT. It’s a standalone app that’ll feature vertical videos up to an hour long, which is major shift from the one-minute time limit on Instagram. IGTV will also have a dedicated space in the main Instagram app, in case you want to watch these videos in the same place you look at pictures and Stories. With creators including Fortnite champ Ninja and singer Lele Pons on board, it’s clear Instagram wants to lure internet personalities like them to IGTV — even if it can’t pay them just yet.

Although CEO Kevin Systrom did tell a group of reporters that monetization options will be available to IGTV users down the road, Instagram missed a huge opportunity to become a serious threat to YouTube on day one. Especially as YouTubers are desperately looking for alternatives to Google’s video site. The company is continuously changing its advertising guidelines — which affects how channels earn money. Last year, during an effort to automatically demonetize offensive videos, YouTube ended up stripping innocent creators of revenue. It eventually made amends and fixed its mistake, but not before it led to an avalanche of very public complaints from YouTubers about what they called “adpocalypse.”These constant shifts in YouTube’s monetization rules, and its algorithms, have led some creators to have public breakdowns and address growing mental health problems caused by the anxiety of their jobs. The pressure of having to constantly produce new content, while worrying about whether their videos may end up violating the service’s ad guidelines, has become a stressful ordeal. So, for those making a living out of YouTube, other sources of revenue would be more than welcome.

This should be where IGTV comes in. But Instagram decided to push its product out the door without any of the tools necessary for creators to actually make money. Of course, it could easily run into similar issues as Google. But YouTube’s problems are well-documented and could provide a rough roadmap for what to do and what not to. Even though Instagram doesn’t have a way to pay creators yet, there’s obvious interest from some of the world’s biggest — as shown by Ninja and Lele Pons’ presence at the launch event. And that shouldn’t come as a surprise, since it would be a mistake for any of them to ignore an app that now has 1 billion monthly active users and counting.

“We’re not starting there because we’re trying to just give a good consumer experience,” Ashley Yuki, Instagram’s product manager, told Engadget about the decision to leave ads out of IGTV at first. These videos can have links in their description, which could direct

Tech News

A first look at Instagram's IGTV

June 20, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

As rumored, Instagram is ready to get into long-form video. And today the company made those plans official with the reveal of IGTV, its new standalone video app geared toward internet creators, like the ones who have made a living out of YouTube. IGTV is all about vertical videos, and although it has its own app, you can get the full experience within the main Instagram application, too — from uploading to keeping up with your favorite content makers, including the cutest dog on earth, Jiffpom. Inside Instagram, soon you’ll see an icon that’ll take you into the full vertical video experience, or you can choose to download the IGTV app if you want to keep Stories and pictures out of it.

Instagram says it wanted to give people the option to choose, rather than forcing them into a separate experience. Once you’re in IGTV, the experience is quite seamless. You’ll instantly see videos from people you already follow on Instagram, and then you swipe to the side to keep browsing. If you swipe up, you can discover more content through four different tabs: “For you,” “Following,” “Popular” and “Continue Watching,” which you can like, comment on or send to your Instagram friends via direct message.

Gallery: Instagram IGTV hands-on | 8 Photos 8 +4

IGTV is going to be perfect for creators with thousands or millions of followers — especially since Instagram has an audience of 1 billion monthly active users — but anyone with an account can upload videos up to an hour long. Yes, you too can try to become an influencer on IGTV. Instagram said that the hour-long limit is only for the launch, since it plans to eventually let people upload content without restraint.

IGTV is coming to iOS and Android in the next few days, but in the meantime, you can watch some of these vertical videos starting today in the Instagram app.

Tech News

Instagram reaches 1 billion monthly users

June 20, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Bloomberg via Getty Images

After surpassing 800 million monthly active users last September, we knew it was only a matter of time before Instagram would reach that coveted 1 billion mark — and today is that day. The company has announced its latest milestone at an event in San Francisco, where it’s also TKTKTK. With 1 billion monthly users, Instagram continues to grow at a tremendous pace since being acquired by Facebook in 2012, when it had just 40 million. If that’s not impressive, then what is?

Instagram now also joins other Facebook-owned social apps that have hit that remarkable number: Messenger (1.3 billion) and WhatsApp (1.5 billion). And then, of course, there’s Facebook, which is at 2.2 billion and counting. Despite the privacy controversies of late, it’s clear people love Facebook products, and Instagram’s growth is only one of many perfect examples.


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Instagram takes on Snapchat and YouTube with IGTV

June 20, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Alexander Koerner via Getty Images

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. For Instagram, that smoke recently came in the form of rumors about it launching a feature to host curated, long-form videos in its app. And well, there’s fire, alright. Today, at an event in San Francisco, Instagram is making its new video hub official. As expected, this is all about giving certain users the ability to upload videos that are longer than a minute (up to an hour), in a dedicated space that will be called IGVT.

This move shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering that Instagram hasn’t been coy about its plans to become more than just a photo-sharing app. The company launched Stories and live broadcasts in 2016, which have since become two of its most popular features. It’s no surprise, then, that Instagram wants to expand its video efforts and use that as a tool to continue growing at a rapid pace. With more than 800 million users, the new hub will have no trouble appealing to creators who want to reach a massive audience, especially one driven by younger generations.


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Instagram could launch its 'IGTV' long-form video hub today

June 20, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

RossHelen via Getty Images

Instagram will launch its long-form video hub very, very soon — maybe even some time today — and according to TechCrunch, it will be called IGTV. The hub will reportedly be part of the platform’s Explore tab and will feature YouTube-like vlogs around 10 minutes long. While a previous Wall Street Journal report said Instagram will be able to support videos up to an hour in length, the Facebook-owned social network apparently decided to focus on shorter content by internet celebrities instead of by big publishers and TV studios.

TechCrunch says the company met with online content creators over the past week to encourage them to shoot 10-minute videos. They’re the ones who’ll set the style and standard for the hub, which future IGTV creators will then have to emulate. If true, then the new hub will put Instagram in direct competition against YouTube instead of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, though its selection will obviously much smaller.

As for how creators will earn from the hub, TechCrunch says the IGTV videos will have link-out options, allowing creators to drive traffic to their own websites or stores. Instagram is apparently planning to offer monetization in the future, but it has yet to finalize the details for it. We might not have to wait that long to see the hub for ourselves anyway: Instagram sent out press invites for an event on June 20th, 9AM PT/12PM ET.

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Instagram won't tell you when someone screenshots your Stories

June 15, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Getty Images

Instagram gave lurkers a small heart attack when it announced earlier this year that it’s testing a feature that tells users if someone took a screenshot of their Stories. It was yet another page out of Snapchat’s book, but one that was welcome for those who want to know if someone’s creeping on them. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on which camp you belong to), the platform has told BuzzFeed News that it’s no longer pushing through with its plan. It has officially stopped testing the feature and will no longer show that little pop-up notification, which lets you know that this specific person now has a record of your ephemeral post.

The feature was only ever available to a small set of users as part of its beta testing, so it’s not going to be missed by a lot of people. But if you were hoping to eventually get it before you go all in on documenting your life on social media without having to leave a permanent record, then this probably kills your chances. That is, unless Instagram is cooking up a similar-but-ultimately-different feature for wider release.

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Dr. Pimple Popper parlays her gross Instagram videos into a TV deal

June 14, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Dr. Sandra Lee, better known by her millions of Instagram followers as Dr. Pimple Popper, is getting her own six-episode show on TLC. Following the success of her one-hour special on the cable network, the limited series will show her treating patients for different dermatological conditions. Yep, instead of watching your guilty pleasure zit-popping videos online, you can watch half a dozen hour-long episodes of a trained professional tackling acne, cysts, lipomas and other growths.

A patient and blackheads we’ll never forget👉🏼❤️👈🏼 #thefireman #drpimplepopper #mondaymotivation

A post shared by Sandra Lee, MD, FAAD, FAACS (@drpimplepopper) on Jun 11, 2018 at 10:05am PDT

Of course, the show isn’t just about satisfying viewers’ perverse appetite for pimple extraction. It’s also about correcting abnormalities to improve patients’ well-being, as each of Lee’s more extreme cases will likely explain the discomfort or outright misery caused by their affliction. Gross, but ultimately heartwarming.

The show is another cultural milestone of sorts: It’s the first time an Instagram star has gotten their own mainstream television series (as far as the Engadget staff can recall). While fad account Rich Kids of Instagram got its own miniseries that aired on Channel Four, Lee’s is the first individual whose brand got her to television. Everyone out there with their own novelty account: The dream is real.

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Instagram starts selling products in your Stories

June 12, 2018 — by Engadget.com0


Instagram is bent on making shopping a cornerstone of its experience… and like it or not, Stories are no exception to that rule. The social service has introduced a shopping bag sticker that lets you see (and ideally, buy) products from “select” brands, including Adidas, when watching Stories. Tap one and you’ll get a brief description of what’s on offer as well as a link to the site if you’re enamored.

The addition could be irksome if your favorite social media star uses this as an excuse to start hawking products in Stories. And you know this could spark a flood of Stories from companies that were previously content to advertise with photos. At the same time, this could be helpful if you already take a liking to a brand. If you’re a hypebeast, for instance, you’ve probably followed your favorite shoe brands on Instagram for a while — why not see that footwear in videos before you buy?

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Friends can steal the Instagram Stories posts they're tagged in

June 7, 2018 — by Engadget.com0


Instagram recently enabled users to upload multiple photos and videos to their stories, but they left out the most precious commodity: You. Now, when anyone mentions you in their story, you can add that content to your own. Which is a great way to brag about how great your friends think you are…or put them on blast if they’re talking trash.

The content becomes a sticker you can rotate and mark up when adding it to your story. You can only use snippets from public accounts, so if your friends are private, you can’t forward their message to all your followers. The original poster will be labeled, too, so it’s probably best not to pass along content from your shy buddies. Of course, if you mention who made the initial post, they can re-add that one to their story, and its stories all the way down…

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Instagram's curated video hub could launch June 20th

June 7, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Erkan Mehmet / Alamy

Following a Wall Street Journal report that Instagram will support longer videos of up to an hour in length, TechCrunch has heard it’s planning a new hub for pro content. Similar to Facebook’s Watch or Snapchat’s Discover page the dedicated space would host shows and music videos in up to 4K resolution, and apparently just like Verizon’s Go90 effort — primarily formatted for vertical viewing.

There’s no word on how revenue for content creators might work, but the videos can support links to other sites where people can sell their merchandise. It’s also unclear whether this will become a part of the existing Explore page, or something entirely new by itself. Sure, Snapchat already had Discover, but this time the source of Facebook’s “inspiration” looks like an ongoing desire to compete with the likes of YouTube, and it can promise video makers an audience of hundreds of millions. TechCrunch said an announcement could take place June 20th, so stay tuned.