Direct Is A New Standalone Messaging App From Instagram

Kevin Systrom

The move follows a similar move parent company Facebook made back in 2014 where they separated its built-in messaging service into what's now Messenger.

Instagram-The photo sharing application is working on a derivative messaging application called Direct, which would eventually be removing the built-in direct message facility within the main application.

The reason for the split is the notion that private messaging does not fit comfortably within an app which is designed for broadcasting images and messages publicly.

"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 The Verge.

Direct would be available from today in Italy, China, Turkey, Israel, Portugal and Uruguay for both the Android and iOS. Once installed on a smartphone, the inbox in Instagram disappears and can then only be accessed from the Direct app.

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Instagram has not announced how long the tests will last and when it expects Direct to be rolled out to the rest of the world. Direct comes with three sections: the inbox, the camera and the profile screen.

An account and settings option will live to the camera's left, while swiping the other way will present you with the list of chats, exactly as it works on Instagram's main app now. This is similar to how Snapchat opens, which is a way to encourage users to start taking and sharing photos.

Facebook Messenger has groomed and expanded its messaging experience by incorporating functions like games, video chatting, payments and much more. Since Instagram is also positioning Direct as a camera-first app, it also comes with four exclusive filters which aren't available in the main Instagram app. You can even go further and swipe to the right once more to open Instagram. Once these apps are separated, the same can be said about swiping to the right in the main Instagram app.

Instagram calls Direct a camera-first messaging service, but it's still unclear what path it is going to take (if it gets out of this experimental phase at all). If Instagram decides to release Direct globally, it could become the next big private messaging platform right next to Facebook's Messenger.


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