Instagram's standalone messaging app could be a victor

James Marshall
December 7, 2017

Instagram is launching Direct, a standalone, messaging-focused app. When you open Direct, it goes straight to the camera - perhaps in an effort to condition you into creating and sharing content. When tapping on Direct from your home screen, you'll be greeted by a camera UI similar to what you'll find within Direct now.

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.

The move feels strikingly similar to what parent company Facebook did when it separated the messaging experience outside the social network's main app three years ago.

If you install this new Direct app then your Instagram inbox appears in this app and it can only be used in the direct app.

According to The Verge's Casey Newton, the raison d'étre behind this app is that Instagram believes messaging can never truly shine when it's tethered to something else.

Instagram is testing a standalone app called Direct, which will serve as an app for private messages.

If you're able to download Direct, you should note that it removes the inbox from the mainstream messaging app. If users don't actually want to take a photo in the Direct app, they could simply swipe down from the top and start typing a message. It's not clear. In Newton's interactions with Instagram, they made it pretty clear the app is merely an experiment.

"Camera-first", huh? That sure sounds a lot like Snapchat. For starters, it's another big step in Instagram's metamorphosis from photo sharing site, to broader social networking platform. 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. As of April 2017, Instagram Direct, still married to the Instagram app, had around 375 million active monthly users.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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