Instagram has changed a lot since its acquisition by Facebook in 2012.
The original premise was very simple. Embellish your photo and share it with your friends with just a couple of clicks. Like the photos of your friends with a simple scroll and a double touch.
Now, Instagram has videos and gifs (Boomerang). It has its own set of superstars and an algorithmic feed that helps these superstars dominate users' feeds, including mine. And it has a direct messaging system.
Today, Instagram is testing another change with the launch of an independent Instagram Direct application. For now, the application is only available in Uruguay, Chile, Turkey, Italy, Portugal and Israel.
The Verge noticed the test for the first time.
Instagram said the following on the test:
We want Instagram to be a place for all your moments, and sharing privately with close friends is a big part of that. To make it easier and more fun for people to connect in this way, we are starting to try Direct, an application that connects first to Instagram without problems.
The application will allow you to create and share stories, and give you access to exclusive filters, Boomerang and other creative tools on Instagram. And, of course, your Instagram friends are instantly added to the Instagram Direct app.
This raises the question: Why create a separate application for things that are already available and functional on Instagram? The most obvious answer is that this is another alluvium in Instagram's badault on Snapchat.
And it's been working. In January, TechCrunch reported that the launch of Instagram Stories had resulted in less use of Snapchat Stories. The launch of Instagram Direct, with its perception of private and intimate one-on-one conversations, could have the same effect on Snapchat's direct messaging.
There is also the issue of Messenger. Facebook is clearly making a move for younger users to return to the Facebook platform with the launch of Facebook Messenger Kids. The launch of Instagram Direct may be another part of that strategy.
The only specific details we have, if you can call them specific, is that the application will be launched globally next year once Instagram has solved the errors and responded to the user feedback.
Featured image: Bloomberg / Getty Images feature