Instagram is testing a standalone messaging app because why not
Available now as part of a test in six select countries.
After starting out as a simple way for sharing photos with friends, family, and random followers, Instagram has grown into a fairly bloated app these days. Along with your regular feed, there’s the Instagram Explore Tab for finding photos the app thinks you’re interested in, a Stories feature taken straight from Snapchat, live streaming, and the ability to send direct messages to other users.
According to The Verge, Instagram is playing with the idea of taking that last feature out of its main app and moving it to a standalone one by the name of “Direct.”
Direct is currently available for download as part of a test for Android and iOS in Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay, and the reason for this move is to get more people using Instagram’s direct messaging service while letting the core Instagram app be a place to share your photos and videos with the entire world.
Instagram Direct opens to the camera viewfinder like Snapchat upon launching it, but you can also choose to swipe down to type out a text-based message. The page to the left is where you’ll find all of your account/app settings, and the one on right is home to your inbox of ongoing conversations. The app itself sounds pretty barebones, but the transition Instagram’s built between the two sounds incredibly sleek.
When you’re in Direct on your Inbox page, starting to swipe again the left will reveal an Instagram logo, and completing this swipe will automatically open up the main Instagram app. The direct messaging feature is removed from Instagram once Direct is downloaded, but you can easily access it by swiping once again to the left in Instagram to see the Direct logo and then jump right to it.
It’s unclear if Instagram will bring Direct to other countries following its initial testing, but seeing how successful Facebook has been with Messenger after removing direct messaging from its core app, an expansion of Direct to other countries in the coming months wouldn’t be all that surprising.