Instagram tests standalone messaging app called Direct

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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. Instagram's parent company Facebook was able to turn the corner and make Messenger a viable app that people (perhaps reluctantly) use alongside the main Facebook app.

The Verge reports that Direct is being tested on both iOS and Android in six countries: Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay. If Instagram users want to send or read private messages, they will now have to open the Direct app.

"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.

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.

The thing that stands out the most is the camera, which is the first thing that will greet users when they open the Direct app. For starters, it's another big step in Instagram's metamorphosis from photo sharing site, to broader social networking platform.

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Instagram wasn't immediately available for comment. The page to the left is where you'll find all of your account/app settings, and the one on right is home to your inbox of ongoing conversations.

The Direct app also comes with a feature that lets users switch to the main Instagram app.

Facebook Messenger, which started its journey with 500 million users and a wave of 1-star reviews, now sits at 1.3 billion users, and ratings have improved up to a 3-star average.

Photo-sharing service Instagram is working on an spin-off messaging app called Direct, which could one day remove the built-in direct message service in the mainstream app. Instagram has no timeline to launch it globally, but it'll probably happen eventually.

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