Instagram working on a standalone messaging app 'Direct'

09 December, 2017, 04:49 | Author: Cecelia Webb
  • Kevin Systrom

Instagram is testing a standalone app for private messages called Direct, a first step toward possibly toward removing messaging features from the core app.

The Direct app will be available in Israel, Italy, Chile, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay starting today both on Android and iOS.

According to The Verge, once users download the app, the inbox feature will disappear from the Instagram.




Instagram product manager Hemal Shah told Verge that the move enables them to craft a stronger messaging experience, as opposed to Direct being a feature of Instagram. On opening this app, the camera pane will open and emphasize users to create new content such as photos and videos for sharing. It's par for the course for the social network, which took the same approach with Messenger back in 2014.

On installing the Direct app, Instagram will stop displaying chats and a left swipe will show the swift animation that will redirect users to the Direct app. However, the feature will reappear as the standalone messaging application is deleted. The messaging portion of Instagram was once just an afterthought, but now is a core reason why many people use it. The Verge notes that there are now 4 of these that aren't found in the original Instagram app, providing 3 examples: "One filter bleeps you at random while blurring your mouth, which you'll appreciate if you've ever enjoyed Jimmy Kimmel's unnecessary censorship videos". So, rather than sharing the food pictures and cat photos one would be able to have a distinct platform for messaging. Direct's design is very similar to Snapchat at the moment, as it opens to the camera and you can swipe to the right to access your inbox, or to the left to access your profile. Once these apps are separated, the same can be said about swiping to the right in the main Instagram app. The social media giant shut off messaging inside the main app and asked users to download Messenger.

Facebook Messenger, which started its journey with 500 million users and a wave of 1-star reviews, now sits at 1.3 billion users, and ratings have improved up to a 3-star average. There is no official announcement yet on whether or not it will be released in the U.S.

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