Instagram tests standalone messaging app

Gwen Vasquez
December 8, 2017

Instagram is testing the app right now in Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay for both Android and iOS users.

By April of this year, Direct had surpassed 375 million users more than half of Instagram's global community of roughly 600 million users. The Verge reports that the app has three screens-the camera screen, a profile screen, and your inbox. You'll have the option of taking either a photo or video and adding your own effects and filters, with some even being exclusive to the app including a superimposing mouth and censor bleeps at random times.

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.

Direct messaging has been part of Instagram for a few years now but initially was extremely basic.

Direct seems nearly like a Snapchat clone.

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Instagram is one of the most popular social media networks on the planet.

It's useful to remember that Instagram operates as an independent entity under Facebook's corporate umbrella, so the team has the autonomy to pursue whatever strategies it sees fit. They want Direct to be something bigger, which it can only be when it is on its own. An even further swipe right pulls up the regular Instagram app, if it's installed.

Then there is also the question, just how many messaging apps is too many messaging apps? That helps explain why Instagram is considering unbundling such a significant part of its experience while Facebook's unbundling strategy appears to be up in the air.

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.

Personally, I don't mind Direct much. It forced anyone that wanted to message someone on Facebook to download a separate app. Messenger now has well over 1 billion monthly users, and Facebook has started to test injecting ads into the chat app, which could become a significant source of revenue, assuming the ads don't drive all of its users insane.

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