Instagram's upcoming Blend feature may finally put its short-form videos ahead of TikTok

Instagram is developing a new Blend feature that would create a private feed of Reels for you and another person based on your mutual interests and recommendations.
Written by Lance Whitney, Contributor
Instagram Reels
Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Instagram is developing Blend, a new feature that would give you and a friend access to a private collection of Reels.

Spotted by TechCrunch, a post on X by mobile developer Alessandro Paluzzi revealed that Blend would be based on Reels that you've shared with other people as well as Reels that you and a friend both showed interest in. A particular Blend would be a private feed between you and the other person, and either of you could leave it at any time.

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Don't hold your breath waiting for Blend to hit your account though. On Friday, Instagram told TechCrunch that Blend is strictly an internal prototype and is not being tested externally at this point.

For any Instagram neophytes, a Reel is simply a short (and hopefully entertaining) video on the platform. Any user can record and post a 15-second video with an audio track and special effects. With a private account, you can share your Reels with just your followers or close friends. With a public account, you can share your Reels for anyone on Instagram to watch.

To access a Reel, simply tap the Reels icon in the iOS or Android mobile app or on the website. Swipe or scroll up and down to watch each video. With the icons on the right, you can like, comment on, share, or listen to the audio from any Reel.

Instagram uses a few different tricks to direct you to Reels you may like. The app suggests Reels liked by someone you follow, Reels you've already watched, and posts you've liked or saved. Resharing a Reel, watching it until the end, or checking out the Reel's page are other signs that you might watch similar Reels.

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A feature like Blend could potentially expand the reach and engagement of a Reel by letting two people discover and enjoy the same videos together. Plus, Blend could be another feature that helps Instagram keep up with fellow video sharing platform TikTok, as the two battle for users and advertising dollars.

Last November, Instagram rolled out several new Reels features. You can now share your Reels with just close friends instead of all your followers. To spruce up a video during the editing phase, you can scale, crop, rotate clips, and undo and redo edits.

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