Instagram to replace private messaging with 'Direct' standalone app

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Switching over to a standalone messaging app would be similar to what parent company Facebook accomplished in 2014, forcing users to download another app to send messages to friends. The limited release is a first test exclusively available in six countries, but available for both Android and iOS users.

Instagram appears to be all set to launch its own standalone app for direct messaging. If you install it, the inbox disappears from the Instagram app and can only be accessed in "Direct'", The Verge reported late on Thursday.

The Verge reports Instagram is now testing Direct in five countries: Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay.

There are many messaging apps competing for attention at the moment that Instagram has chosen to keep its focus firmly on photos. And, to the right is your inbox where you will find all your Instagram messages. And that's the entire app for now.

He further goes on to explain how private messaging can never be a best-in-class experience when it lives inside an app meant for broadcasting publicly.

There are a couple of additional things you can do, but the main app experience is just those three screens. And now, Instagram is doing something huge: Instagram is testing out a new app called Instagram Direct.

However, there's a risk that Facebook ends up creating too many messaging services with overlapping features that have the potential to dilute the brand (Direct would be Facebook's third messaging service, in addition to Messenger and WhatsApp). Direct will open up to a phone's camera in a similar way to how Snapchat now does. Considering how many private conversations have sprung up from Instagram photos and stories, having to jump back and forth between Instagram and Direct might be a bit disconcerting. However, this app is not now available for all.

That said, the Direct app also comes along with four exclusive filters which aren't available on the main Instagram app. However, from the reports of test, the only downside we can notice as of now is the need to constantly shuffle between the two apps. Every feature that has made Snapchat stand out in the marketplace has been slowly taken and improved on Facebook's network.

When Facebook split Messenger off into its own standalone app, it had about 500 million monthly active users.

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