22 December 2017
Just like Facebook separated messaging and outsourced it onto a separate app, Instagram is seemingly experimenting with the same idea. The company is launching a new app today called Direct on an experimental basis, which will be dedicated for direct messaging only.
Launching as a test, the app will only be available in six markets for now; Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey and Uruguay. It will do exactly what Messenger does for Facebook - off-load messaging so that you have to juggle two apps instead of one.
The concept is of course, to attract more people to use direct messaging features in Instagram. Private messaging arrived in 2013 and was limited to just sharing photos and videos with other users. It was more or less perfect, but just didn’t sit right with Instagram’s Home feed. Instagram Stories was born after the widespread success of Snapchat, which the former built upon, expanding its Direct Messaging’s feature tremendously. If an Instagram Story is commented on for example, it will go straight to the private inbox, instead of displaying as a public comment. You can always send a text message or photo privately, but it is primarily through Stories that people have a reason to initiate a conversation on the photo-sharing platform.
When the private messaging feature broke off from Facebook, it wasn't received well. But over the time, the experience improved and became second nature, with people relying solely on one or the other. It also allowed Facebook to add new features, such as games and chat bots.
Let's see what Instagram has in store for us with Direct.