Instagram has released a demo version of its standalone messaging app, Direct, in six countries including Italy and Portugal.
The Instagram Direct app will be available starting Thursday on Android and iOS in Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay, according to technology news website the Verge. For those who choose to install it, the inbox disappears from the main app ... But a comment from product manager Hemal Shah made it sound like the company had already made up its mind. Swipe right from the Camera screen, and you will find the Messages inbox, whereas swiping left will bring you to the various app settings. You'll have the option of taking either a photo or video and adding your own effects and filters, with some even being exclusive to the app including a superimposing mouth and censor bleeps at random times. Opening the app, you will see camera similar to Snapchat. 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. You can even go further and swipe to the right once more to open Instagram.
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While having to use two apps to enjoy the full Instagram experience will undoubtedly upset many users, at least Instagram makes it easy to go back and forth.
It would be the third messaging app owned by Facebook (joining Messenger and WhatsApp). As of April 2017, Instagram Direct, still married to the Instagram app, had around 375 million active monthly users. Now, it has grown to 1.3 billion users, as pointed out by Business Insider. Remember, users went on a similar outrage when Facebook introduced a dedicated messaging app for its platform.