Instagram Testing A 'Direct' Snapchat Clone On Android

IG Direct

Instagram may be following Facebook in pushing private messaging into a standalone app

If a user in one of those countries downloads Direct, their inbox from the main app goes away and is replaced by this new standalone app for private messaging with other Instagram users.

Over the past year, that included relaunching Direct - still with the Instagram app - to include permanent and disappearing messages in one thread. 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.

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Although it is officially only a test, Instagram's rationale for building Direct app is that private messaging can never be a best-in-class experience when it lives inside an app meant for broadcasting publicly.

The move is similar to what Facebook did with its private messaging feature in 2014.

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The only specifics we have, if you can even call them specifics, is that the app will launch globally next year after Instagram has worked out the bugs and responded to user feedback.

The photo sharing app also expects video to continue to grow on its platform, as mobile devices are expected to account for 72 per cent of all online video viewing by 2019. "To make it easier and more fun for people to connect in this way, we are beginning to test Direct - a camera-first app that connects seamlessly back to Instagram". Overall, when this app gets released, you should feel right at home with it if you've ever used Instagram Stories. The app consists of just three screens. It looks exactly like Direct does on Instagram already so you shouldn't experience a learning curve here, either. Direct's design is very similar to Snapchat at the moment, as it opens to the camera and you can swipe to the right to access your inbox, or to the left to access your profile. In January, TechCrunch reported that the launch of Instagram Stories had resulted in lower usage of Snapchat Stories. As of April 2017, Instagram Direct, still married to the Instagram app, had around 375 million active monthly users.

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Instagram added private messaging to its app in 2013.

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