TechCrunch reported that the launch comes five years after Facebook launched a similar feature through Messenger. The “walkie-talkie service,” which is available on Instagram Direct worldwide, allows users to hold down the microphone button to record a short voice message that appears in the chat. The messages can be up to one minute long and stay in the chat permanently.
This is the latest feature launched by the social media site. Just last month, Instagram rolled out new features to make it easier to shop during the holidays, and there have also been reports that the site is getting ready to launch its own shopping app, tentatively called IG Shopping. Most recently, there have been rumors that Instagram users in India might be able to shop inside the app in 2019 by simply tapping a “buy” button next to a picture of the product.
“By the [middle] of next year, the platform will have a ‘buy’ button, which will redirect users to the product page based on a cost-per-sale model,” a source familiar with the development revealed. “Once payments and other aspects are figured out, Instagram will start selling directly.
Yet analysts point out that while India is Instagram’s second-biggest base outside the U.S., 80 percent of India’s online fashion market is controlled by Flipkart-Myntra and Amazon India.
“Instagram Shopping in its initial form may boost sales for brands and smaller fashion portals by redirecting customers to the merchant websites,” said Arpan Sheth, a partner at consulting firm Bain & Company. “That said, Instagram would have to figure out other aspects of customer experience, such as logistics, payments and returns, for them to be able to take users away from fashion eCommerce platforms in the long run.”