The new standalone app, also called Direct, is now being tested with users in Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay. An even further swipe right pulls up the regular Instagram app, if it's installed. If you don't live in those countries, you may have to wait a while for Direct to be available to you - but that doesn't mean you can't get excited about the more than likely inevitable global release (I hope!) by learning more about it. Instagram direct messaging now has 375 million monthly active users (MAUs), according to The Verge.
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. While a standalone messaging app may not sound like a Snapchat rival at face value, it sure as hell is.
Direct is what Instagram calls its messaging feature which allows users to correspond with one another without publishing to the public. If you download Direct, your Instagram inbox will be scrubbed from the main app. "We want Instagram to be a place for all of your moments, and private sharing with close friends is an important part of that".
In anticipation of this, the Facebook-owned app has been trialling Shopping on Instagram over the a year ago in the United States, and is planning on rolling out the feature to more countries in 2018. "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". Also, the new app just seems really cool.
Personally, I don't mind Direct much.
When users open the app, a camera will open that is identical to Instagram's, but with four new exclusive filters. Opening the app, you will see camera similar to Snapchat. In January, TechCrunch reported that the launch of Instagram Stories had resulted in lower usage of Snapchat Stories. A swipe down in this pane will reveal a text field with a gradient background in case you just wanna type something up for someone. On the Direct app, you can swipe right to transition to Instagram.
Instagram added private messaging to its app in 2013.