'Direct' grows out of Instagram

Kevin Systrom

Instagram tests standalone messaging app called Direct

Instagram is beginning to test a dedicated app that will bring its Direct messaging service right to your home screen, according to a new report out of The Verge. Direct is now being tested with Android and iOS users in six countries - Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay - and, there's no information if and when it will be rolled out in other countries.

Direct will be available on Thursday on Android and iOS in Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay. The publication quotes Instagram product manager, Hemal Shah as saying, "We want Instagram to be a place for all of your moments, and private sharing with close friends is an important part of that".

Facebook now operates two of the world's most popular messaging apps in Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp that both have more than a billion active users. Direct could be an additional threat they don't need as they rush to overhaul the popular app. Every feature that has made Snapchat stand out in the marketplace has been slowly taken and improved on Facebook's network.

It seems like, Instagram is working hard to make its app more user-friendly and convenient. Creators came up with it because they feel that it's hard to have a great private messaging experience in the same app that allows you to publicly broadcast messages. Similar to the way Facebook's chat feature was changed into the Messenger app used today, Instagram is soon to have its own standalone private messaging tool. While WhatsApp is still a messaging platform, Messenger offers a different experience to the users with payment options, bots, ability to make phone calls, and play games within the Messenger itself. Instead of publicly broadcasting photos and videos, Snapchatters often send content directly to specific users.

That said, the Direct app also comes along with four exclusive filters which aren't available on the main Instagram app.

A left swipe on the camera interface will show the account and settings option while a right swipe will show the list of chats. With a global release, a lot more filters would probably be added, and since Instagram has uses stickers and locations in stories, one would assume those would be included too.

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