Instagram users may now start to send photo and video messages with friends privately in a one-on-one or group conversation.
On Thursday, the photo-sharing app developer introduced a new feature called Instagram Direct, allowing users to limit the number of recipients who can see their messages.
Instagram Direct empowers the user to create a customized two-way communications channel for a small group of friends to share fun and exciting moments with each other.
Instagram announced Direct at a media event in New York City. It made pompous outward display to mark the day’s keynote, sending real-life Instagram images on canvas to press members.
During the keynote speech, Instagram CEO and cofounder Kevin Systrom said the event highlights communication – not photography – because most cameras owned by consumers are built into phones.
If you updated to the new version 5.0 will see a new icon show up at the top-right corner of the app’s home feed. It opens to an inbox with all the photos and videos you received from other Instagram users. You also have the option to share content to a particular group of people or to all followers.
To use Instagram Direct, choose the name or names of the recipient and insert a caption or subtitle. But take note that only those people you follow can send photo and video messages directly to you. People you do not follow may send you a message but it will appear as a pending request that you have to accept or deny. And the photo or video message will not show up without your approval.
Instagram answered a series of questions from the press after the event, wherein it answered one question about text messages. The company said users cannot send text messages without a photo, though they can comment on images or reopen a conversation.
Instagram owner Facebook reportedly offered to acquire another photo-sharing app Snapchat for a $3 billion valuation, likely for its direct-messaging feature. But Snapchat turned it down. Now Facebook found a way to incorporate a similar feature into Instagram through Instagram Direct.
In comparison, Instagram trumps Snapchat when it comes to features. Photos and videos last only up to 15 seconds on Snapchat before vanishing, whereas Instagram records longer videos and can return to photos and videos in the chat history, where these items are intact.
A few days earlier, Twitter announced that its users can start sharing and receiving images within Direct Messages.