Instagram Tests Direct for a Stand-Alone Messaging App

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The new Direct app is apparently the company's first step in completely removing the inbox feature from the main Instagram app.

Instagram releases Direct, a standalone messaging app.

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 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, told me. When you open Direct, it goes straight to the camera - perhaps in an effort to condition you into creating and sharing content.

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The Verge reports Instagram is now testing Direct in five countries: Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay. Users who install Direct will have their Direct Messages disappear from the main Instagram app as part of a move that appears to be similar to the one introduced by Facebook in mid-2014 when the company separated the Messenger platform from its social media app. Instagram still appears to be in early stages of developing Direct which appears to be a more straightforward clone of Snapchat than any other product debuted by Facebook's subsidiary in the past, being exclusively dedicated to ephemeral messaging and enhancing photos with augmented reality filters, stickers, and frames before sharing them.

The app consists of three screens. "Direct has grown within Instagram over the past four years, but we can make it even better if it stands on its own".

It's unclear at this time whether Facebook plans to launch the Direct app globally. And swiping left will reveal your recent chats (Direct Inbox) similar to what you see now in your Instagram app. In the same way, you can open or access Direct app from the main Instagram app. A similar feature is also present in the Instagram app to quickly jump into Direct. Facebook already operates Messenger and WhatsApp chat apps, with each of them having more than a billion users.

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