Instagram Tests A Standalone Messaging App

Dec 08, 2017, 01:34
Instagram Tests A Standalone Messaging App

And if anyone should know how to create a massively popular messaging app, it is Facebook, Instagram's parent company, and owner of both Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. According to Hemal Shah, an Instagram product manager, the reason for this limited test launch for Direct is that the company feels that such features can only be improved if they are available as an app on its own, rather than just a feature inside the main Instagram app. A profile screen is to the left, allowing you to adjust settings, move between accounts, or go to Instagram. Direct opens to the camera, just like Snapchat, and lets you slap some fun filters on your face before firing off a photo to your friends. And if you swipe right in the same fashion within Instagram, you'll see the Direct logo and you'll jump into the Direct app.

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. 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.

The new service will be available for download for iOS and Android starting today in Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay.

In anticipation of this, the Facebook-owned app has been trialling Shopping on Instagram over the past year in the USA, and is planning on rolling out the feature to more countries in 2018. But as long as Direct is a part of Instagram, expanding the platform would get increasingly hard for the company.

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

'We can push the boundaries to create the fastest and most creative space for private sharing when Direct is a camera-first, standalone app'. In third place is Chinese messaging app QQ Mobile.

In March 2017, Facebook introduced Facebook Stories along with two other new Snapchat-like features - Facebook Camera and Direct.

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