Facebook Testing Out Direct, a Standalone Messaging Application for Instagram

09 December, 2017, 04:48 | Author: Delbert Rhodes
  • IG Direct

Except we're not talking about Facebook directly: The company is testing out unbundling messages in Instagram. As The Verge reports, the rollout today is just a test, launching in only six countries: Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay.

When users install the new Direct app, Instagram will automatically stop displaying chats; a swipe to the left will present you with a swift animation that brings you straight into Direct, while doing the same from Direct's inbox will send you back to Instagram. Hemal Shah, an Instagram product manager told The Verge.

"Direct has grown within Instagram over the past 4 years, but we can make it even better if it stands on its own".

The standalone app opens directly to the camera, sporting an interface similar to Instagram Stories, the platform's ephemeral sharing feature. The app is reportedly quite similar yet simple and attractive, a winning formula that Snap has yet to crack.

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Snapchat has been recently struggling with profitability in the face of constant Facebook and Instagram updates that keep upping the ante in the game for market share dominance.

From what has been reported based on the experimental version of Direct, there is little in it you won't now find in Instagram.

However, it is not yet clear if Direct will fully replace private messaging feature by Instagram, which it released in 2013. Upon launch, it opens directly on the camera, and from there you can swipe right to access your inbox and conversations or swipe left to access your settings and other functions. Instagram said this is only a test run, but it falls in line with what parent company Facebook did when messaging was shut off on the social media site and transitioned over to Messenger in 2014.

The Direct app is now a pretty barebones experience with only 3 screens that enable messaging, managing your account and navigating conversations. Instead of publicly broadcasting photos and videos, Snapchatters often send content directly to specific users. While WhatsApp is still a messaging platform, Messenger offers a different experience to the users with payment options, bots, ability to make phone calls, and play games within the Messenger itself. Otherwise, I wouldn't expect a lot of users to use the app.

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