Will Instagram Users Embrace a Stand-Alone Messaging App?

Direct is being tested in six countries: Uruguay, Chile, Turkey, Israel, Italy and Portugal

Will Direct be the next Messenger?

It worked for Instagram’s parent company (eventually), but will it work for Instagram?

The Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing is testing a stand-alone application version of its Instagram Direct messaging feature, simply titled Direct.

iOS and Android versions of Direct will launch Thursday in six countries: Uruguay, Chile, Turkey, Israel, Italy and Portugal.

Instagram said in an email to Social Pro Daily: “We want Instagram to be a place for all of your moments, and private sharing with close friends is a big part of that. 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.”

The Instagram Direct messaging feature launched in December 2013.

Casey Newton of The Verge reported that when Instagram users install the Direct app, the inboxes disappear from their flagship Instagram apps, adding that the Direct app also includes four exclusive filters.

Instagram product manager Hemal Shah told Newton, “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, stand-alone app.”

Facebook took similar steps to separate messaging from the rest of the social network’s experience, launching Messenger as a stand-alone app in August 2011 and removing messaging features from its flagship app in April 2014, basically forcing users to download Messenger, to the dismay of many.

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