Remember back when Instagram first added the ability to upload multiple pictures at once and everyone kind of freaked out a little bit? And then they added Stories and people kind of freaked out a little bit? Well, there’s a new functionality coming to Instagram (kind of), and we’re expecting that, once again, people are going to freak out a little bit.

The new function is known as Reels, and actually, it’s not that new at all. But if this is the first time you’re hearing about it, don’t worry — you’re not totally behind the times. Here’s what you need to know about Instagram Reels, including its potential release date

What is Instagram’s “Reels” function?

Instagram Reels first came on the scene in late 2019, but it was only available to users in Brazil at first. As for what Reels actually is, well… have you heard of TikTok? ‘Cause it’s pretty much TikTok. Reels allows Instagram users to record 15-second video clips set to music or other audio, edit them with in-app tools, and then post them on a platform where they can potentially go viral. Like we said. It’s basically TikTok.

Then again, being able to post albums to your grid was basically Facebook, and Instagram Stories was basically Snapchat. If nothing else, Instagram is great at piggybacking on great ideas and making them work on the Instagram platform. Reels could very well be the next big thing. Instagram certainly hopes it is!

Initially, Reels could only be shared within Instagram Stories and would disappear after 24 hours, just like Stories do. However, response to the Reels launch in Brazil revealed that users wanted a way to make their Reels more permanently accessible, and also wanted to be able to share them with people other than their followers.

Now, Instagram has expanded Reels to users in both Germany and France. Instagram has also added a dedicated space just for Reels, making it possible to share them in your feed (and possibly reaching a new audience). Instagram used a similar international-first strategy when it initially rolled out Stories — it started in countries where Snapchat hadn’t yet taken off and enjoyed a successful launch as a result.

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