Instagram Is Testing A Standalone Messaging App Called Direct
Instagram, one of the largest social media platforms in the world is testing a new standalone messaging app called Direct. Many are considering this the first step in removing the direct messaging service from the core Instagram app.
The app is available to download on Android and iOS in only six countries as of now-Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay. Once the app is downloaded, it removes the direct messaging feature from the Instagram app. Similar to Snapchat, the Direct app also opens to the camera. This means that if and when Direct is made globally available, it will be the third popular messaging app under the Facebook umbrella, apart from Messenger and WhatsApp.
Hemal Shah, a product manager at Instagram told The Verge:
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.
This move sounds familiar because back in 2014, Facebook shut off messaging services inside the Facebook app, in turn forcing users to download another app for that purpose, Messenger. At that time, Mark Zuckerberg justified the decision by stating:
On mobile, each app can only focus on doing one thing wel. Asking folks to install another app is a short term painful thing, but if we wanted to focus on serving this [use case] well, we had to build a dedicated and focused experience.
It will be interesting to see how Instagram handles Direct, in that it might not be as necessary as Facebook Messenger was and probably is. One downfall here is that people will have to juggle between two apps in order to get full Instagram experience and while that may sound easy in new phones, it will be a different case for older phones.