The Instagram experience is set to change greatly after the popular photo-sharing app announced that it’s testing a new standalone messaging app called Direct. This is set to separate the messaging functions from Instagram and instead delegate them to Direct. Once a user installs this new app, the messaging features will disappear from the Instagram app and you can only access them on the Direct app.
In the footsteps of Facebook?
To many, this is like deja vu. This is because in 2014, Instagram’s parent company Facebook took a similar step and split its messaging features from the core Facebook app and required its users to install a new standalone app, Messenger for all their messaging needs. Though it was met with a lot of criticism and resistance, Messenger has gone on to become one of the most popular direct messaging apps. This may be the motivation behind Direct which is currently in a testing phase in six select countries. These are Chile, Uruguay, Italy, Portugal, Turkey and Israel.
How does it work?
In its current state, Direct app has a simple interface which is very user-friendly. Its default home screen is a camera, just like Snapchat and this is meant to have you sharing your photos and moments more regularly. When you pull down the screen, a screen appears that lets you type your message and send it to your Instagram friends. When you swipe to the right, a screen appears that contains the messages in your inbox. Swiping to the left takes you straight to your profile where you can easily navigate between features such as account settings and switching accounts. This is the simplicity which Direct app will be offering its users once it’s rolled out to the masses,
Filters are at the heart of Instagram and with its new Direct app comes exclusive filters that are currently not available in its core app. The first of these creates a live cut-out of your mouth and then lays it over your actual mouth giving you a hilarious clown look. Another filter creates an infinite video loop which zooms in on your mouth as very many versions of your head twirl around you while yet another filter sensors your speech randomly while blurring your mouth. As the app is still in testing phase, more filters might be added before it’s rolled out.
The major concern for Instagram users with the introduction of the Direct app would be having to constantly switch from one app to the other. Instagram anticipated this and devised a smooth and simple transition. When on the Direct app, you just swipe to the right of the inbox and an Instagram logo pops up. Once you swipe all the way to the right, Direct opens the Instagram app. When on Instagram, you swipe to your right and the Direct app logo pops up and when you complete the swipe, Instagram opens the Direct app. The Direct app logo is a modified version of the paper plane logo that Instagram has been using for messages.
Taking the battle to Snapchat
Instagram and Snapchat have been involved in the longest battle to be the premier photo-sharing app. In recent times, Instagram has been making inroads into Snapchat’s turf with new innovative features and Direct is the latest. Instagram launched the Stories feature last year primarily to poach some of Snapchat’s users and it worked perfectly. As reported by TechCruch, the usage of Snapchat Stories saw a significant reduction after the launch and with this new app, the battle is set to intensify.
The official rollout of the Direct app has not been set but it’s expected to be in mid-2018. This is because Instagram has to respond to the feedback of its users who are currently testing it and work out the bugs. Maybe they might even add a few new filters, I know you’d like that.
What do you think, will this mean that there will be more ways to promote on IG or on the contrary?
Also, I wonder why they don’t try to combine the Ig and Fb messanger apps into 1 and they feel it’s better to create a new one