12 November 2019
Instagram has launched a new messaging app called Threads with the goal of helping users stay connected with close friends. It wants to make the messaging experience clutter-free as people usually add a lot of contacts on the platform but consistently communicate with only a handful of them. This new app will show you conversations from only those few people and nothing else.
Instagram Threads is a camera-centric app which means when you will launch the application, it will start with the camera interface opened. You can use it to click photos or record videos depending on what you want to share with close contacts. The main Instagram app already has the option to choose contacts and set them as close friends. The new app will import the same from your account but if you have no such contact list, it will ask you to create one.
At the bottom of the camera app viewfinder, you can set shortcuts to the contacts you communicate with most frequently. This will allow users to share newly clicked photos/videos with those contacts with just two taps. There is a Home icon at the top which when tapped will take you to the direct messaging interface similar to the main Instagram app. It will show you conversations from only those contacts which are part of your close friends' circle. The app supports group conversations but only for those groups where your close friends are members.
Instagram has offered Status functionality with Threads which are essentially your away messages. You can choose from an emoji and a few words to let your close friends know what you are up to. There are seven preset statuses: Eating, Studying, Gaming, Free, Busy, Bored, and Watching but you can also set a custom status. The duration for these statuses can be selected as 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours or 4 hours after which they will disappear automatically.
The app also offers Auto Status feature which will add a status automatically depending on your current location. It is said to be helpful when you would want your friends to know what you are up to throughout the day. This is an optional feature but enabling it would mean you will have to share data with Instagram. It says that the app will not share your accurate location but will only use the coordinates to get a context of what you might be up to and then share relevant status. For example, if your location shows that you are at the office, it will add the status that you are working/busy without offering the exact location. Similarly, if you are riding your bike, it can add a status that you are on the move.
Even though Threads' Auto Status is a completely opt-in feature and one can back out anytime they want, it is bound to make people think because of Facebook's role in privacy and data sharing related issues that have surfaced in recent times. If you would like to try out the app, you can do so using the download links below.
- Instagram Threads | Android | Google Play Store, Free
- Instagram Threads | iOS | iTunes App Store, Free