Instagram launches hour-long videos as it celebrates one billion users

Instagram has something of a track record of copying Snapchat's ideas - and often making them more popular - but today the company is introducing a new feature that brings it closer to YouTube instead.

In a blog post - which starts off by announcing the one billion user milestone - Instagram announced IGTV, a new mobile-oriented video service which will allow users to record videos up to one hour long.

IGTV is essentially a video platform, similar to YouTube, where each creator has their own channel which users can choose to follow to stay updated on. Instagram has come up with a few ways to make the service different from what users expect from YouTube, however.

First, being designed and meant for consumption on mobile devices means that videos on IGTV will be vertical and take up the entire screen, letting users hold the phone as they usually do while using it.

Second, the service starts playing content as soon as you open it. Similarly to TVs, as soon as you open IGTV, you'll be presented with a video. From there you can swipe up to discover more in one of the four categories offered: For You, Following, Popular, and Continue Watching. Instagram hasn't talked about the possibility of turning off video autoplay when launching the service, but it's likely that it will be a requested feature.

In a world which is increasingly mobile, it may be a smart move by Instagram to cater to the unique characteristics of mobile devices in order to take on a behemoth such as YouTube, though it remains to be seen if the strategy pays off.

IGTV will be available as a standalone app, but you'll also be able to access it and watch videos right from the regular Instagram app. The service will be rolling out over the next few weeks to people around the world.

Source: Instagram via Mashable

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