The Verge has spotted a new standalone app being tested by Instagram. The app, which is now being tested in select markets including Uruguay, Chile, Turkey, Italy, Portugal and Israel is called Direct. Direct will serve as a uniquely different app from Instagram—and could be the company’s way of separating messaging from its core features.
Once installed on your Android or iOS device, the inbox disappears from the main [Instagram] app and can only be accessed from the messaging app. No exact date has been announced per the availability of Direct on a global scale. However, TechCrunch adds that Direct will become available globally in 2018; but not until bugs have been taken care.
The app will further strengthen Instagram’s position as one of the most used photo-sharing apps in the world. It will also serve as a big plus for Facebook; a company already basking in the success of its Messaging apps—Messenger and WhatsApp.
“We want Instagram to be a place for all of your moments, and private sharing with close friends is an important part of that,” Hemal Shah, an Instagram product manager, told The Verge’s Casey Newton. “Direct has grown within Instagram over the past four years, but we can make it even better if it stands on its own. We can push the boundaries to create the fastest and most creative space for private sharing when Direct is a camera-first, standalone app.”
Direct will let you create and share stories, and give you access to exclusive filters. As expected, your friends on Instagram will all be added to the app, which should kind of give you a good start.
Instagram is adding a new feature that will add your expired stories to a private archive. The private archive feature will be available to all users starting from today. Instagram will add your expired stories to the feature; but with option for users to opt out at any time they so desire to.
Recall that Snapchat introduced a similar feature in 2016—and so it’s another one copied from the company by Instagram. The archive feature is designed to automatically save your stories once it expires after 24 hours.
You can access the stories in your archive by tapping the Archive icon on your profile. From there, you can easily switch between your Posts Archive and your new Stories Archive. In your Stories Archive, your stories will appear in a grid with the most recent stories at the bottom. The first story from each day will show a date indicator to help you navigate your archive as you scroll.
Facebook and Instagram are currently also working on a new feature that will let you bring your Instagram contacts into Messenger. The test being carried out by the two services is an opt-in for users. It is coming on the heels of a recent integration in Facebook that allows Instagram posts to appear on the platform. Recall that you can also open Instagram app directly from your Facebook app.