As Instagram continues its war against Snapchat, the company is bringing some radical changes to its platform. The company could soon separate its direct messaging feature Direct into a standalone app on Android and iOS. The new standalone app, also called Direct, is currently being tested with users in Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay.
The idea behind Instagram moving its direct messaging product out of the core app makes a lot of sense. Instagram has been improving Direct over the recent months to take on Snapchat and sustaining that growth will require the company to continue developing the platform. But as long as Direct is a part of Instagram, expanding the platform would get increasingly difficult for the company. “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,” an Instagram Program Manager told The Verge.
By expanding Direct out of Instagram, the firm will require you to install two different apps for its service. Installing Direct will give you access to exclusive filters, and the usual Instagram features like Boomerang. Direct’s design is very similar to Snapchat at the moment, as it opens to the camera and you can swipe to the right to access your inbox, or to the left to access your profile. It definitely feels a bit empty for now though.
Like its parent company Facebook, moving Direct out of its core app could turn out to be quite successful for Instagram in the long run. When Facebook originally moved Messenger out of Facebook, the company faced a lot of backlash but it has been able to exponentially grow Messenger ever since.
The growth of Messenger, however, has almost taken away the pure Messenger experience we have to come expect for years — you see, Messenger in 2017 is a crowded mess, ruined by ads, stories, payments, games, and…bots. And knowing Facebook, Direct will probably follow the same route.