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08 December 2017, 12:58 | Ross Houston
Instagram may be following Facebook in pushing private messaging into a standalone app
Opening Direct would directly be taking you to the camera to persuade one in making and sharing content. 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. As the report notes, it's similar to what Facebook did with its Messenger function in 2014, when it turned off chatting inside its main app and broke out the feature.
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.
When you install Direct, your direct messages will automatically disappear from the main Instagram app, and an animation will take you straight to the Direct inbox.
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This begs the question: Why build a separate app for stuff that's already available and functional within Instagram? But if these tests are successful, Facebook may end up owning not one, not two, but three distinct messaging apps that have a rather huge number of users.
As a messaging-first experience, Direct becomes Facebook's third service of its kind, beyond the aforementioned Messenger and WhatsApp. As of April 2017, Instagram Direct, still married to the Instagram app, had around 375 million active monthly users. The Verge appears to confirm that scenario, citing Instagram Product Manager Hemal Shah as saying that the ephemeral nature of Direct Messages is a better fit for a standalone app than an attachment to a completely public social media platform. "We can push the boundaries to create the fastest and most creative space for private sharing when Direct is a camera-first, stand-alone app".
The thought of being required to download a new app in order to DM via Instagram might sound unnecessary - however, you might want to give this one a chance. But as long as Direct is a part of Instagram, expanding the platform would get increasingly hard for the company. Swiping the app all the way to the right will bring up the main Instagram app. Whether that happens later or not remains to be seen but it makes sense for it to be within the messaging app.
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