You hated Facebook a few years ago when it removed Messenger functionality from the main app, only to launch a standalone messaging app that you’ve probably ended up using all the time.
Well, get ready for the sequel, as the same thing is about to happen with Instagram. 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 purpose of Instagram.
If Instagram’s inbox is still available inside your Instagram app that’s because the Direct standalone app launched only in certain markets, including Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay. Direct is going to be available both on Android and iPhone in these test markets.
Installing the Direct app will remove the inbox feature from Instagram, The Verge reports.
“We want Instagram to be a place for all of your moments, and private sharing with close friends is an important part of that,” Instagram product manager Hemal Shah said. “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.”
It’s unclear at this time whether Facebook plans to launch the Direct app globally. But if these tests are successful, Facebook may end up owning not one, not two, but three distinct messaging apps that have a rather huge number of users. Facebook already operates Messenger and WhatsApp chat apps, with each of them having more than a billion users.
Direct has some 375 million users as of April, which is one good reason for Facebook to want to turn it into a standalone app. And it probably will do it, even if there’s no timeline for that.