Rather than replacing it with something entirely new, Instagram is simply using an existing idea for its user-to-user messaging feature’s next phase.
Direct, which debuted way back in 2013, is now just like Snapchat. This is yet another example of a Facebook-owned service copying what’s already been done by a popular competitor; however, it’s not proving to be an issue with users. And we expect the new Direct will be well-received as well.
Now Direct offers you the same approach to user-to-user messaging that Snapchat has had for years. Instagram’s quiet-but-popular feature has been overhauled to support disappearing messages. It means you can send photographs and videos to whoever and they’ll disappear to never be seen again.
Here’s how the feature works, according to Instagram:
- Simply swipe left into Direct and tap the new blue camera icon at the bottom to take a disappearing photo or video, or tap the blue camera icon in an existing thread. As always, swiping right from feed will take you directly to the camera.
- Tap the arrow to send it to individual friends or groups of friends.
- Keep track of who has seen your message through notifications within the thread.
If you do receive a disappearing message, it’ll be highlighted blue for indicating such. Of course, like Snapchat, Instagram will notify the sender if you take a screenshot of the message and replay it.
Snapchat’s stock price took a tumble just minutes following Instagram’s announcement.
Instagram says the new Direct is live on Android and iOS devices after getting the 10.16 update for its app. So it should be widely available by the end of the week to the 375 million people already using Direct. Assuming it performs even closer to Snapchat, Instagram could see Direct take over the ‘young and hip’ messaging platform around the world.
Download it now: Google Play