Social networks usually have one big problem: How to make sure that their current crop of users keep using the platform. This is good since it ensures that the platform grows which affects their ad earning potential and value to their users.
This usually leads to a situation where companies try different features to fulfil the above targets and it can be weird.
According to the Verge, Instagram is testing a standalone messaging app and they have named it Direct. Direct replaces the private messaging feature on Instagram which has been called Instagram Direct since the beginning.
This is the same sort of move Facebook made a while back when they decided to separate the Inbox and make it a standalone app which they called Messenger.
“Direct has grown within Isntagram over the past four years, but we can make it even better if it stands on its own,” Hemal Shah, Instagram’s Product Manager told the publication. “We can push the boundaries to create the fastest and most creative space for private sharing when Direct is a camera first, standalone app.”
Sadly, Instagram is testing the app on Android and iOS today in only six countries: Israel, Uruguay, Turkey, Chile, Portugal and Chile. I tried checking out the app on Google Play and couldn’t install due to the location barrier.
The biggest question around Direct is how they will treat it. Facebook gave Messenger its independence and forced people to install it, so we are not sure if they will give Direct the same treatment. Also, this would mean people would have to download yet another app in the Facebook ecosystem that would be competing for your attention.