Instagram's New Video Feature Reels Officially Debuts in U.S.

Last month, Instagram officially announced the upcoming launch of its TikTok competitor, Reels. Today, the company’s short-form video feature is launching across 50 countries, including the U.S. and other key international markets such as India, Brazil, France, Germany, the U.K. and Japan. The new Instagram video feature builds on the familiar short-form creative content and allows users to create and post short, 15-second videos using a new set of editing tools that include options like AR effects, a countdown timer and music.

Although Facebook, which owns Instagram, said the plans for Reels have been well underway for a while now, the launch of the new platform comes at an opportune time. Just last month, President Donald Trump announced that the Chinese-owned video app TikTok would be banned in the U.S., citing security risks, “potential counterintelligence threats” and privacy concerns as reasons for the ban. In order to compete with TikTok, Instagram understands the importance of music in helping Reels succeed. The company’s deals with major record labels offers up a variety of musical content, which means users’ sound won’t be removed due to a rights issue.

“We think it’s really important to honor the rights of the music labels — and that’s one we’ve been working on for years now,” said Instagram head of Product, Vishal Shah. “We’re launching Reels now in countries where we have rights. We think that the catalog is quite deep and it has some unique content that you can’t really find, at that depth, in other platforms.” In addition to music rights, Reels is accessible instantly via the Instagram camera. To create a new Reel, users just have to select the option at the bottom of the Instagram Camera, next to Story, and the editing tools will pop up on the left side of the screen. Reels will be displayed in a new tab on users’ profiles. If they’re published to Stories, they’ll disappear in 24 hours.

In other news, Google has just announced three new models for its Pixel smartphone line.
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