Instagram tests standalone messaging app

IG Direct

Instagram may be following Facebook in pushing private messaging into a standalone app

The only specifics we have, if you can even call them specifics, is that the app will launch globally next year after Instagram has worked out the bugs and responded to user feedback. Installing Direct app will remove the message section from the Instagram app. Kevin Weil, vice president of product at Instagram, said in a tweet that although Instagram Direct is only rolling out to these six countries at first, Instagram also "can't wait for you all to try it".

Facebook continues to expand its mobile footprint with messaging apps. Facebook's decision was controversial at the time, but the move has ultimately paid off for the company, with Messenger now boasting more than 1.2 billion monthly active users. Now being tested in Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay, the app separates itself from the main Instagram experinece while still tying in pretty closely.

According to The Verge, Direct opens in the phone's camera app, allowing users to snap a photo or video or send a message to users. (You don't have to take a photo, though; you can also pull down to reveal a screen that lets you type your message.) To the left of the camera is a profile screen that lets you access settings, switch accounts, and navigate to various corners of Instagram. Like Snapchat, it opens to the camera, in an effort to get you in the habit of regularly sharing. And if you swipe right in the same fashion within Instagram, you'll see the Direct logo and you'll jump into the Direct app.

Direct, at its core, is Facebook's attempt to excise direct messaging from the core Instagram experience.

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In anticipation of this, the Facebook-owned app has been trialling Shopping on Instagram over the past year in the USA, and is planning on rolling out the feature to more countries in 2018.

While you can check out Instagram Direct's app page on Google Play, you will most likely not be able to download it quite yet.

Instagram added private messaging to its app in 2013. "To make it easier and more fun for people to connect in this way, we are beginning to test Direct - a camera-first app that connects seamlessly back to Instagram".

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