Published: Fri, December 08, 2017
Science | By Eileen Rhodes

Instagram is testing a standalone app for direct messaging

Instagram is testing a standalone app for direct messaging

A profile screen is to the left, allowing you to adjust settings, move between accounts, or go to Instagram.

The Verge reports that Direct is being tested on both iOS and Android in six countries: Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay.

The private messaging feature of Instagram is to be removed from the service and replaced with a standalone app. This time around, Instagram is announcing that its DM (direct messaging) system, which if you remember was also "borrowed" from Snapchat, would exist as its own standalone application. However, unlike Messenger, which always had the potential to be a full fledged messaging app, Instagram Direct only really works or is relevant within the realm of Instagram and becomes largely irrelevant on its own. The Verge appears to confirm that scenario, citing Instagram Product Manager Hemal Shah as saying that the ephemeral nature of Direct Messages is a better fit for a standalone app than an attachment to a completely public social media platform. Users who download Direct will see their Instagram inbox disappear, but it comes back when the messaging-only app is deleted. Direct is a new Instagram companion app to send and receive messages.

Then there is also the question, just how many messaging apps is too many messaging apps?

When described that way, Direct makes more sense. Instagram did not originally have private messaging at all when it first launched in 2010, and the platform still lacked messaging all the way up to the end of 2013, when the feature was added as a way to keep up with Snapchat.

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Direct, which now opens to the camera in a similar way as to how the other social media photo-based platform Snapchat does.

To date, Instagram Stories has been Facebook's most successful effort to replicate Snap's (NYSE:SNAP) Snapchat and its Stories feature.

The coolest thing about Direct is that it's so easy to transition from Instagram to Direct.

What do you think of the idea of a standalone Direct app?

The Direct app is a bit barren at the moment. If you anxious this new app would make private messaging complicated, this proves it won't.

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