Instagram launches Direct, a standalone messaging app

Instagram launches Direct, a standalone messaging app

Instagram launches Direct, a standalone messaging app

The launch of Instagram Direct, with its perception of more private and intimate one-to-one conversations, could feasibly have the same affect on Snapchat's direct messaging.

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. Now there's a chance that the social media giant could do the same with Instagram.

In its current, experimental state, there is little in Direct you won't now find in Instagram. 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.

Speaking to The Verge, Hemal Shah, a product manager at Instagram, explained: 'We want Instagram to be a place for all of your moments, and private sharing with close friends is an important part of that. Direct also ships with four exclusive filters and is ultimately seeking to grow its user base even more by providing people with a more focused experience, albeit one that's still deeply integrated into Instagram. "We can push the boundaries to create the fastest and most creative space for private sharing when Direct is a camera-first, stand-alone app". Just like Snapchat, its default screen is your phone's front-facing viewfinder.

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Of course, social networks are also a great way to check if other people are experiencing the same problem as you. Facebook Messenger suffered a similar outage on November 30 when users reported being unable to send messages.

Personally, I don't mind Direct much. 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.

This test sounds a lot like what Facebook did with Messenger over the last few years.

To date, Instagram Stories has been Facebook's most successful effort to replicate Snap's (NYSE:SNAP) Snapchat and its Stories feature. Instagram has been improving Direct over the recent months to take on Snapchat and sustaining that growth will require the company to continue developing the platform. As of April 2017, Instagram Direct, still married to the Instagram app, had around 375 million active monthly users. Whether that happens later or not remains to be seen but it makes sense for it to be within the messaging app.

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