Photo-sharing service Instagram is working on an spin-off messaging app called Direct, which could one day replace the built-in direct message service in the mainstream app.
Instagram has reportedly yet to attach a time frame for separating Direct Messages from its popular mobile app, though that appears to be a long-term goal for the company and one that's expected to be achieved at some point in 2018. It will soon be made available on Android as well as iOS presently in six mentioned countries, which are Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay. With this version, when users install Direct, the inbox icon (the little airplane in the upper righthand corner) disappears from Instagram and can only be accessed in Direct.
The app is now available in six countries, no word on whether it will be released globally but if all goes well most likely soon. Instagram said this is only a test run, but it falls in line with what parent company Facebook did when messaging was shut off on the social media site and transitioned over to Messenger in 2014.
Direct is super similar to Facebook Messenger, which shouldn't be particularly surprising - since Facebook took over Instagram, more and more similarities have been popping up between the two. Apparently if you keep swiping left from your inbox, you see the Instagram logo and are then sent to the Instagram app.
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'We can push the boundaries to create the fastest and most creative space for private sharing when Direct is a camera-first, standalone app'. Also, the new app just seems really cool.
Instagram confirmed it was testing a new app to Quartz. Instagram did not originally have private messaging at all when it first launched in 2010, and the platform still lacked messaging all the way up to the end of 2013, when the feature was added as a way to keep up with Snapchat.
In August 2016, Instagram released a near-perfect copy of Snapchat Stories, in the form of Instagram Stories. Installing Direct will give you access to exclusive filters, and the usual Instagram features like Boomerang. As of April 2017, Instagram Direct, still married to the Instagram app, had around 375 million active monthly users.