Instagram Launches Instagram Direct, Yet Another Snapchat Copy

Steve Phelps
December 9, 2017

Instagram has started testing Direct, which is a standalone messaging app for Instagram users. The app will be available for Android and iOS devices starting today in Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay. If you install Direct, the inbox disappears from the Instagram app and can only be accessed in the messaging app.

Instagram product manager Hemal Shah told Verge that the move enables them to craft a stronger messaging experience, as opposed to Direct being a feature of Instagram. 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. Direct could be an additional threat they don't need as they rush to overhaul the popular app.

Instagram is spinning out its Direct messaging feature into its own separate app, The Verge first reported. If you swipe to the right while in the Direct inbox, you'll get a little transition of the Instagram logo that will fully expand and automatically launch Instagram.

The app consists of three screens.

You can also open Instagram app directly from the Direct app.

Apple reveals 2017's best apps, games, movies, music and more
On the iPhone, health and fitness app Calm was crowned the top overall app while Splitter Critters earned game of the year honors. Affinity Photo was chosen as the best iPad app, Aurora HDR 2018 is the best Mac app and ChefsFeed is the #1 Apple TV app.

The numbers show that private messaging apps attract more frequent user interaction than regular social media broadcast channels. Few have impacted Instagram's core functionality - the editing and uploading tools remain untouched, for the most part - but Facebook's reportedly considering far more drastic changes in the near future. Its safe to say that Stories will not be moving over to the new app as it has a firm standing on the main Instagram app.

However, the competition for internet messaging apps is enormous in the market and Instagram is using a different approach to its Direct app.

This is the same move which Instagram's parent company Facebook did with its app couple of years back.

An account and settings option will live to the camera's left, while swiping the other way will present you with the list of chats, exactly as it works on Instagram's main app now. Instagram Stories now has 300 million daily active users (DAUs), well above the 178 million DAUs that Snap finished the third quarter with.

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