While a standalone messaging app may not sound like a Snapchat rival at face value, it sure as hell is.
Instagram is working on a dedicated messaging app.
Direct is now available for download as part of a test for Android and iOS in Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay, and the reason for this move is to get more people using Instagram's direct messaging service while letting the core Instagram app be a place to share your photos and videos with the entire world.
When users install the new Direct app, Instagram will automatically stop displaying chats; a swipe to the left will present you with a swift animation that brings you straight into Direct, while doing the same from Direct's inbox will send you back to Instagram. Similarly, you can swipe into Direct from Instagram just as easily.
The Verge reports that Direct is being tested on both iOS and Android in six countries: Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay.
While you can check out Instagram Direct's app page on Google Play, you will most likely not be able to download it quite yet. You will be happy to know that for the new app, Instagram includes four new filters including one that censors your speech when you least expect it, and another that superimposes your mouth over your mouth (yes, it is as odd as it sounds).
"We want Instagram to be a place for all of your moments, and private sharing with close friends is an important part of that", Hemal Shah, an Instagram product manager, told me. "We can push the boundaries to create the fastest and most creative space for private sharing when Direct is a camera-first, standalone app". Most of the features that are in the Direct app can already be found on the current Instagram app.
Focused on image sharing, Instagram Direct opens directly to the camera so sharing can be easier than ever before.
Instagram wasn't immediately available for comment. Swiping to the left pane will get you access to your profile and settings, while swiping to the right will get you your list of conversations.
Well, get ready for the sequel, as the same thing is about to happen with Instagram. When Messenger became a standalone app, it started with around 500 million users. Now it has over 1.3 billion.
That makes sense. Just look at Facebook Messenger, which was first released in 2011, and made the default mobile messaging experience since 2014.
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