Instagram testing standalone messaging app, Direct

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Instagram is testing a new standalone messaging app called Direct as first spotted by The Verge. For now, the app is only available in Uruguay, Chile, Turkey, Italy, Portugal and Israel.


"We want Instagram to be a place for all of your moments, and private sharing with close friends is a big part of that," said a company spokeswoman. "To make it easier and more fun for people to connect in this way, we are beginning to test Direct - a camera-first app that connects seamlessly back to Instagram."

The move could potentially be the first step towards Instagram shutting off the messaging part of its core app. The app is similar to what private messaging is like on Instagram already, but it opens directly to the camera instead of your list of messages, similar to Snapchat.

The app will let you 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 added instantly to the Instagram Direct app.

The app is expected to roll out broadly next year, but there is no definitive timeline yet.