Instagram has revealed that it was testing a standalone messaging application, named as ‘Direct’. The application when launched, will be Facebook’s third standalone messaging app following WhatsApp and Messenger.
The strategy seems similar to what Facebook did with its private messaging feature in 2014.
“With hundreds of millions of people using Instagram Direct, today we’re announcing a test of a standalone Direct app. It’s fast, visual and super fun. Only in six countries to start but can’t wait for you all to try it.” Instagram’s vice president of product, Kevin Weil, said in a tweet.
Users can download the Direct app from Thursday on Android and iOS in Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay, according to technology news website the Verge.
“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.” Hemal Shah, an Instagram product manager told The Verge.
However, this is not the only standalone app Facebook has made out of an Instagram feature. The company already offers Boomerang that enables users to create short videos and GIFs.
According to TechCrunch, the separate Direct app could be Facebook’s another effort to steal Snapchat’s thunder. Ever since Instagram introduced Stories feature, Snapchat has suffered a big dip in its terms usage of its Stories. A Direct app could further dent Snapchat’s other popular feature, direct messaging.