Instagram to Cut Messaging from App

Mindy Sparks
December 7, 2017

You hated Facebook a few years ago when it removed Messenger functionality from the main app, only to launch a standalone messaging app that you've probably ended up using all the time.

Instagram is launching Direct, a standalone, messaging-focused app. If Direct does become a standalone messaging app, parent company Facebook will now have three messaging apps under it.

The reason for the split is the notion that private messaging does not fit comfortably within an app which is designed for broadcasting images and messages publicly. "We can push the boundaries to create the fastest and most creative space for private sharing when Direct is a camera-first, standalone app".

The Verge reports Instagram is now testing Direct in five countries: Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay. Once installed on a smartphone, the inbox in Instagram disappears and can then only be accessed from the Direct app.

The Direct app is only being tested in the aforesaid six countries and Instagram could release it globally in the future. When tapping on Direct from your home screen, you'll be greeted by a camera UI similar to what you'll find within Direct now.

The new app's structure feels a lot like Snapchat: When users open it, the camera pane will open, emphasising the app's focus on creating new material (photos and videos) to share.

Of course, this all sounds fine and dandy, but some users will likely not appreciate Instagram forcing users to download a second app just to message their friends. Once these apps are separated, the same can be said about swiping to the right in the main Instagram app. When users start swiping to the right while they're already in the Direct inbox, an Instagram logo will pop up. A similar feature is also present in the Instagram app to quickly jump into Direct.

Instagram calls Direct a camera-first messaging service, but it's still unclear what path it is going to take (if it gets out of this experimental phase at all). Now, it has grown to 1.3 billion users, as pointed out by Business Insider.

As a messaging-first experience, Direct becomes Facebook's third service of its kind, beyond the aforementioned Messenger and WhatsApp.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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