Instagram may roll its inbox into a standalone messaging app called Direct

Instagram may roll its inbox into a standalone messaging app called Direct

And it looks like Instagram is back on its bullshit with a new standalone messaging app. Instagram's parent company Facebook was able to turn the corner and make Messenger a viable app that people (perhaps reluctantly) use alongside the main Facebook app.

Direct has been launched for testing on Android and iOS in six countries: Israel, Chile, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay.

As a messaging-first experience, Direct becomes Facebook's third service of its kind, beyond the aforementioned Messenger and WhatsApp.

According to The Verge's Casey Newton, the raison d'étre behind this app is that Instagram believes messaging can never truly shine when it's tethered to something else.

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

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The Direct app, in its current state, is simple and straightforward. Once installed on a smartphone, the inbox in Instagram disappears and can then only be accessed from the Direct app.

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. For starters, it's another big step in Instagram's metamorphosis from photo sharing site, to broader social networking platform. Since Instagram is also positioning Direct as a camera-first app, it also comes with four exclusive filters which aren't available in the main Instagram app. When users start swiping to the right while they're already in the Direct inbox, an Instagram logo will pop up.

Well, get ready for the sequel, as the same thing is about to happen with Instagram. Similarly, you can swipe into Direct from Instagram just as easily.

When Facebook split Messenger off into its own standalone app, it had about 500 million monthly active users. Now, it has grown to 1.3 billion users, as pointed out by Business Insider.

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