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Instagram Tests Dedicated Private Messaging App In 6 Countries

Tech

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The test breaks out private messages from Instagram’s core functionality as a platform for broadcasting content publically.

Instagram and Snapchat have been trading jabs for the better part of 2017, with Instagram continuing to grow to the detriment of Snapchat. Just last week, Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel declared that the platform was “separating the social from social media.”

The latest shot in the rivalry comes from the debut of an Instagram app targeted for private messages, which is currently being tested in select markets. According to TechCrunch sources, we can expect to see a global rollout sometime in the next year. In the meantime, the app (called Direct) is only available in Uruguay, Chile, Turkey, Italy, Portugal, and Israel.

The announcement comes just shy of a month after Instagram rolled out yet another Snapchat-esque feature (Memories) with which users can dig back into their content archives and share anything from their Camera Roll, no matter when it was captured.

“We want Instagram to be a place for all of your moments, and private sharing with close friends is an important part of that. 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,” explained Instagram product manager, Hemal Shah, to The Verge.

So, what exactly does this new app look like, and how does it work? Direct offers the Instagram private messaging experience in the form of a standalone app. It works a lot like Facebook Messenger, which has a similar presence.

When you first open the Direct app, you’ll be presented with a camera view where you can either take a photo, with the option of using four new exclusive filters or swipe down to trigger a screen where you can type a message response to a friend. Swiping left from the Camera will bring you to a profile screen where you can adjust your personal settings or switch accounts. Finally, to the right of the Camera screen is where all of your direct messages will be aggregated, resembling a lot of what we are familiar seeing and using in the main app.

Similar to Facebook Messengers relationship to the broader Facebook platform, toggling between Direct and Instagram will be relatively speedy and seamless. By swiping right from your inbox in the new Direct app, you’ll see an Instagram logo appear on the side. Completely swiping all the way to the right will result in Instagram opening automatically. Comparatively, when you’re on Instagram, swiping entirely to the right will return you to the Direct app.

What do you think of the new Direct app? Will most feel inconvenienced at having to download a second app, or will it help bolster its overall audience? Sound off in the comments!

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