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Instagram Testing A 'Direct' Snapchat Clone On Android
08 December 2017, 01:36 | Gretchen Simon
Instagram is testing a Snapchat-style standalone app called Direct to replace its direct-messaging feature
If one gets successful in downloading Direct, they would notice that it would remove the by default inbox from the mainstream messaging application. And, of course, your Instagram friends are added instantly to the Instagram Direct app. "We want Instagram to be a place for all of your moments, and private sharing with close friends is an important part of that", Hemal Shah, an Instagram product manager, told me.
Facebook now operates two of the world's most popular messaging apps in Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp that both have more than a billion active users. And if anyone should know how to create a massively popular messaging app, it is Facebook, Instagram's parent company, and owner of both FacebookMessenger and WhatsApp.
The new app's structure feels a lot like Snapchat: When users open it, the camera pane will open, emphasising the app's focus on creating new material (photos and videos) to share. And if you swipe right in the same fashion within Instagram, you'll see the Direct logo and you'll jump into the Direct app.
Direct is already causing a stir in the tech world, even though Instagram hasn't announced any plans for it be released globally just yet. While a standalone messaging app may not sound like a Snapchat rival at face value, it sure as hell is. A swipe left shows your Instagram profile screen settings and frequently used shortcuts, and a swipe right opens your messaging inbox. It says messaging through Instagram can never be a full experience so long as it lives in another app.
The app is now available today in six countries: Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay, on both, iOS and Android. In 2014, Facebook forced users to download Messenger in order to privately message Facebook friends on mobile - an effort thatwas widely criticized.
In anticipation of this, the Facebook-owned app has been trialling Shopping on Instagram over the previous year in the U.S., and is planning on rolling out the feature to more countries in 2018. If you anxious this new app would make private messaging complicated, this proves it won't. "To make it easier and more fun for people to connect in this way, we are beginning to test Direct - a camera-first app that connects seamlessly back to Instagram".
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