In a world where there are simply too many messaging apps, Instagram has decided to add Direct, a new feature allowing users to start one-to-one chats with friends. Instagram Direct will allow any user to message through a photo and then both can reply and chat in the same chat bubble.
The emphasis is on the photo feature, possibly pointing at Instagram Direct being a service to compete with Snapchat, rather than WhatsApp. The idea of adding a fully functioning messaging application on Instagram seems odd, considering Facebook Messenger is available and works.
Instagram has not went the full way, making sure users can only send a photo and then it is instantly deleted, but they will not allow a user to have multiple photos in one message bubble. When another photo is sent, it starts a new chat, removing all the text from the previous one.
Users will be able to send photos, videos and text to 15 friends and Instagram Direct allows the user to not broadcast all updates and photos to every follower. This is one of the main features of Snapchat, allowing users to send photos and then have them immediately deleted after a few seconds.
This type of quick removal allows Snapchat users to be less concerned when it comes to uploading a photo – simply because it is sent to people they know are going to like it and nobody is able to actually go back five hours later and show all their other friends.
Facebook has been looking to grab Snapchat or something equal for a while, after Poke failed the company apparently offered Snapchat and all in $3 billion deal, over $2 billion what the social network paid for Instagram.
Since Snapchat didn’t accept, Facebook is looking for ways to crack the photo messaging service – but we do not see Instagram Direct as the perfect way to do it.