Instagram continues to pilfer every idea Snapchat has ever come up with. In December, Instagram unveiled its Direct app, which is a knockoff of Snapchat’s Friends tab.
Like Snapchat, Instagram’s Direct app opens to the camera. Instead of swiping right to get to their inbox, user’s swipe right. Users are also able to go to the Instagram app if they swipe all the way to the right. If the user swipes all the way to the right in the Instagram app, they will be able to open the Direct app. Another difference from Snapchat is that from Direct’s camera screen users can pull down a screen to type a message, so they don’t have to take a photo.
Since introducing Direct, the company has already added a new video feature to the app. The goal of Instagram Direct’s video feature is to let users- mostly kids and teenagers in this case- hang out virtually while watching a video at the same time. Users can also create their own videos for friends to watch live, but these videos cannot be seen once the livestream is over.
Currently, the app is being tested in Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay, so those of us located in the United States are unable to get a first-hand glimpse of the app’s features. However, once the app is released on a wider scale, there will be growing pains. Facebook, which owns Instagram, experienced backlash when it removed Messenger from the main Facebook app into its own space. There’s no doubt that Facebook is hoping to minimize the amount of criticism it will receive once Instagram Direct becomes available worldwide.
While we don’t know if Direct will be a success, Facebook has had success with the other features it took from Snapchat and incorporated into Instagram, so there’s no reason to think that won’t be the case here. Unless Snapchat comes up with a truly game-changing feature that is not easily copied, Facebook and Instagram will continue to eat away at that app’s userbase.