Instagram tests standalone messaging app called Direct

Instagram is reportedly separating Direct messages into its own separate, Snapchat-like app

As per reports, Instagram is busy with the making of a stand-alone messaging app. The Direct messaging system that was upgraded to replicate Snapchat functionality just earlier this year may become a standalone app supposed to offer you a Snapchat like chatting system that won't interfere with the main goal of Instagram. If Instagram users want to send or read private messages, they will now have to open the 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. When you open Direct, it goes straight to the camera - perhaps in an effort to condition you into creating and sharing content.

Direct is launching today in six countries - Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey and Uruguay - on Android and iOS.

Instagram has not announced how long the tests will last and when it expects Direct to be rolled out to the rest of the world. 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.

While you can check out Instagram Direct's app page on Google Play, you will most likely not be able to download it quite yet. Swiping to the left pane will get you access to your profile and settings, while swiping to the right will get you your list of conversations.

Facebook Messenger, which started its journey with 500 million users and a wave of 1-star reviews, now sits at 1.3 billion users, and ratings have improved up to a 3-star average. Hopefully, the same thing doesn't happen to Instagram Direct.

In the past few years, WhatsApp has remained a relatively unchanged, bare-bones messaging app, while Messenger has become much more, transforming into a platform of its own: Bots, payment options, phone calls, and even games have now found a home in Messenger.

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