Instagram is beginning to test a dedicated app that will bring its Direct messaging service right to your home screen, according to a new report out of The Verge. The move follows a similar move parent company Facebook made back in 2014 where they separated its built-in messaging service into what’s now Messenger. With this new app, Instagram hopes to enlarge its already sizeable audience of users and turn Direct into somewhere you wanna contact your friends.
“We want Instagram to be a place for all of your moments, and private sharing with close friends is an important part of that,” Hemal Shah, an Instagram product manager, said in a statement. “Direct has grown within Instagram over the past four years, but we can make it even better if it stands on its own. 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 app consists of three main panes interfaces. 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. You’ll have the option of taking either a photo or video and adding your own effects and filters, with some even being exclusive to the app including a superimposing mouth and censor bleeps at random times. Swiping to the left pane will get you access to your profile and settings, while swiping to the right will get you your list of conversations. You can even go further and swipe to the right once more to open Instagram. Once these apps are separated, the same can be said about swiping to the right in the main Instagram app.
Hopefully, Instagram Direct doesn’t turn into Facebook Messenger
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. Remember, users went on a similar outrage when Facebook introduced a dedicated messaging app for its platform. It even led to quite a few 1-star reviews. Hopefully, the same thing doesn’t happen to Instagram Direct. Otherwise, I wouldn’t expect a lot of users to use the app.
The Verge reports Instagram is currently testing Direct in five countries: Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay. No timeline for when others will see the app has been revealed yet, so it looks like we’ll need to wait this one out.