Instagram tests standalone messaging app

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The app will open up with the camera in a similar fashion to Snapchat, and installing the standalone Direct app will actually remove the Direct feature from the standard Instagram app.

This statement was made in reference to Instagram's current process of testing a standalone app for private messages just like the inbox, called Direct, an initial step probably towards dismissing the messaging features from the basic app. Alonside these changes, Instagram also recently launched the Stories Highlights and Stories Archive. Direct is a new Instagram companion app to send and receive messages.

According to The Verge, the reason for making this application is that Instagram believes that messaging is something that needs a separate platform to shine, its charm diminishes when attached to something else. To recall, Facebook forced users to install Messenger app to chat with friends. This offered package is much better than the previous one, Facebook Chat.

This begs the question: Why build a separate app for stuff that's already available and functional within Instagram?

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"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 The Verge's Casey Newton.

Instagram believes that messaging experiences are best delivered via a stand-alone app instead of within a larger app, mostly echoing CEO Mark Zuckerberg's sentiments from a few years back that "there's a big premium on creating single-purpose, first-class experiences" in mobile. It opens camera-first, so just like Snapchat, and it's very simple, with only three screens. Instagram sees video growing in the form of temporary formats like Stories, and expects brands to take risks on ephemeral formats knowing the content will disappear after 24 hours.

"With hundreds of millions of people using Instagram Direct, today we're announcing a test of a standalone Direct app". The only real downside is you'll have to install two apps to get the same functionality that's now present in one app.

Instagram added private messaging to its app in 2013.