Instagram, instagram stories, instagram direct

Though Instagram is definitely the most popular social network to share your photos and daily life (courtesy of Instagram Stories), it is now also aiming to become a competitor in the messaging space as well. Following the said objective, Instagram has today released an update to simplify the Instagram Direct private messaging feature for its 375 million monthly active users, which ballooned from 300 million in November last year.

This means all of your conversations, be it permanent text messages or ephemeral photo and video messages, will now appear in the same location — in a common chat window. The image-sharing platform is yet again taking certain cues from its arch-rival Snapchat to further build out its existing messaging features.

Previously, Instagram Direct was divided into two separate sections – one similar to traditional chats where permanent text, image or video messages would appear and other the ephemeral one in the form of circular Story-like message bubbles at the top of the screen. You had the option to swipe right from the feed to access the new camera features and send edited, filtered photos and videos directly as disappearing messages from the said interface. It was added with the introduction of Stories, which has amassed a daily active user base of 150 million, to the platform.

But, starting today, Instagram Direct strives to provide you a unified experience where both permanent and ephemeral messages are available in the same conversation. The latter has, thus, been moved from the top and added to the traditional chat window itself. It’s the same strategy followed by Snapchat when it debuted its full-fledged messaging features —  showing ephemeral visual messages in the same window as the text ones. These messages will disappear once they have been viewed by an Instagram user but it will leave a note stating that something had been shared at this instant.

Instagram debuted ephemeral messaging to its platform back in December last year, during its ongoing spree to blatantly rip-off the feature present in Snapchat. So, this update can be seen as an ongoing effort to enhance the current experience and making it more streamlined  — which it definitely has. As seen above, the Stories-like ephemeral messages bar is now missing from the very top.

Instagram Direct’s updated interface still places the spotlight on visual content, thus, a massive camera button has been added to the bottom of the same. The Facebook-owned photo-sharing platform has discovered that its messaging platform witnessed rapid growth when it enabled users to send visual content — coupled with stickers, emojis, filters, and sketches — to their Instagram friends. These aspects and the booming market have been kept in mind to give camera button a prominence in the same.

As for the ephemeral messaging features within the chat window, Instagram has now split the text box into two segments. You have the option to either type out the message, share photos from gallery or express yourself using a heart emoji. On the left side of the text box now resides a blue camera button — blue being the color assigned to ephemeral messages, which takes you to the robust camera interface which enables you to send image, video or Boomerangs as ephemeral messages. These also appear as blue in the messaging window and are replaced by a note once they’ve been opened.

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