Instagram has revealed their latest offering to be integrated into their photo sharing app: private messaging known as Instagram Direct.
This is the ability to share your photos and videos with up to 15 people and not your entire timeline.
How Instagram Direct works:
Simply snap the photo as normal, apply the filters and then select with whom you would like to share your photos with. Either all followers or specific people. To send to individuals only, select Direct, tap the names of the people you want to send your photo or video to, write your caption, tap “send”.
Much like other Instant Messaging application, you will be able to see when the recipient of the photo has seen your creation as there will be a checkmark next to that person’s name. If they liked the photo, that mark will change to a heart.
The recipient of the photo is also able to comment on the photos which then notifies the sender and so a conversation can occur around the image.
To fight the SPAMMERS and Stalkers from invading your Instagram Inbox, you are only able to send photos and videos to people that you follow. However, you can still receive Direct photos from people you don’t follow but those land up as Pending Request. You can then choose to accept them or not.
Instagram is “taking it slow” and new features such as sending images to Groups of users or being able to send entire photo albums to users and being able to draw and add text on photos are in development and might appear in future releases.
Keeping its eye on the competition, Instagram has recognised that Twitter has started offering private message photos however with Instagram you can share the photo with multiple people at once and not one at a time like Twitter.
So in summary:
These features have taken Instagram into a new direction. It has over 150 million users world wide and is no longer just a photo and video sharing app that has some social-networking features like following, Hearting and adding comments. By adding the chat and direct sharing to specific people only, Instagram has carved a new appeal especially to the demographic that is obsessed Instant Messaging apps – the Teenagers. It is this market that has lost the Facebook-appeal and are now hanging out in the social IM world. Whilst these features are not integrated into Facebook, by adding these tools into Instagram, an app that teenagers love and have installed already, this is is a great way to keep them interested longer and not loose them to other competing messaging and photos sharing apps.
There was an expectation that images might follow the Snapchat route where photos disappear after a set time.However this proved to be false. Instagram captured moments are there to be shared and remembered with no time limit or expiry date
With this feature Instagram is in the Instant Messaging Game.
Version 5.0 that will have these features will be available in the Apple Store and in the Google Play store today. The Windows version is in Beta.
At the time of posting this was not available in South Africa for Android yet.
update: as of 19:50 this update is available in the Google Play store