Instagram Blend could surface reels for you and a friend

Instagram app on iPhone
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When you open Instagram, you’re presented with a feed that’s not just full of your friends’ photos, but of algorithmically surfaced video content (“reels”) that the app thinks you’ll enjoy. 

How you interact with these clips will, in turn, influence what appears in the future. What you see will be unique to you, drastically different from the app’s two billion other users.

But what if you could somehow combine your Instagram preferences with another user’s? That seems to be something that owners Meta is currently testing, with an experimental feature called “Blend.”

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First spotted by the reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi on X (formerly Twitter), an attached screenshot shows an invite to the feature. 

“Reels recommendations based on reels you’ve shared with each other and your reels interests,” the included text states. It goes on to explain that Blend will be private between the two accounts it’s generated for, and that users can exit at any time.

It sounds pretty similar to a Spotify feature of the same name. Spotify Blend was launched back in 2021, and allows up to ten free and paid subscribers the chance to automatically merge their favorite songs into shared playlists, complete with customized cover art and “taste match scores”.

Meta confirmed to TechCrunch that the feature is an internal prototype and not something that’s currently being tested outside of the company. 

It’s unclear at this point if it ever will be. While algorithmically blending musical tastes on Spotify makes a lot of sense (for the soundtrack to a shared road trip, say), Instagram scrolling is more of a solo activity. 

While people routinely share entertaining reels to their friends on Instagram, that might be enough. After all, the algorithm will already be learning from reels discovered this way, and just because two people share an enthusiasm for, say, dog videos, doesn’t mean they both enjoy death metal.

Still, it doesn’t hurt to roll it out and see if it’s something that close friends or couples start to embrace. Crucially, this is a feature that TikTok doesn’t have — and anything Meta can do to make Instagram more competitive with the king of short-form video is something that shareholders would surely welcome.

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.