Besides sending quick text messages and images through Instagram, you can now leave voice notes as well. A microphone icon is now visible when you open the message feature. Press and hold as you record, and then let go for the voice note to send it. You can record up to one-minute, and they stay in the message cue for someone to listen to when they want.
There is a trash can icon — but you need to slide across the voice message before you lift your finger to delete it. Pick up, and the message sends instantly, and you can't delete it once it has been sent to someone.
Instagram is working hard to make the social media app more sticky and more like its parent, Facebook. Just last week, the app launched Close Friends, a new feature which lets you create a more tailored group inside the app. The feature works with Stories, not regular posts, and lets you send those stories just to your select group of friends.
Instagram also launched video calling earlier this year, where you can speak live with up to four people at once, through Instagram Direct. That, plus the new voice note feature, just continues Facebook's deeper push into voice.
The company has allowed people to send voice messages across Facebook's Messenger feature for years. But the company recently launched Portal, its smart home camera that now supports video chatting. You start making calls with Portal by saying, "Hey Portal" through Facebook Messenger. Amazon Alexa is also baked into the smart camera, and can be used — like other Alexa-enabled products — to control connected devices in your smart home.
Video displays are hitting the consumer market this year with devices that include the Lenovo Smart Display, Amazon Echo Show and Google's Home Hub. All have smart assistants baked inside, just like Portal.
Commands requested from Portal are sent to Facebook's servers and they can be deleted from its servers, just as you can do with Alexa and Google Assistant commands as well. (You can also download all the data Instagram has stored on you as well with four simple clicks.)