Instagram Testing A 'Direct' Snapchat Clone On Android

Kevin Systrom

Direct is now available for download as part of a test for Android and iOS in Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay, and the reason for this move is to get more people using Instagram's direct messaging service while letting the core Instagram app be a place to share your photos and videos with the entire world. If you install the app Direct, the inbox usually disappears from the Instagram app and can only be availed in the messaging app.

According to The Verge, Instagram is playing with the idea of taking that last feature out of its main app and moving it to a standalone one by the name of "Direct". While a standalone messaging app may not sound like a Snapchat rival at face value, it sure as hell is. It's fast, visual and super fun. The app that's been rumored since early 2017 is said to become available in six test markets on both Android and iOS starting later today, with Instagram reportedly bringing it to Italy, Portugal, Israel, Uruguay, Chile, and Turkey.

The Direct app, in its current state, is simple and straightforward. The move is potentially the first step to Instagram shutting off the messaging part of its core app. One can access the profile and settings, and can also view and send texts to other users on Instagram. Opening the app, you will see camera similar to Snapchat.

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Instagram wasn't immediately available for comment.

The challenge for Instagram would be to expand Direct at the same time maintaining its simplicity which is the most appealing factor of the app.

Direct, which now opens to the camera in a similar way as to how the other social media photo-based platform Snapchat does. A similar feature is also present in the Instagram app to quickly jump into Direct. Facebook Messenger has expanded massively, and has come to include things like video chatting, games, payments, and much more. Thus, Facebook now has three individual messaging apps - WhatsApp, Messenger and Direct.

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