Image: vicky leta/mashable
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Instagram is making itself a better app by taking some cues from Snapchat.
The former photo-sharing app is launching a new version of Direct, its one-to-one and group messaging, with more features. Starting Tuesday, disappearing photos and videos will appear in the same text threads as other messages with friends.
Prior to this update, Instagram’s chat screen featured annoying bubbles at the top bar that hosted ephemeral messages from friends (the Snapchat copycat feature introduced in November 2016). Other chats were below:
Instagram Direct in November 2016
Now, these chats are combined into individual threads for one-to-one messages and for group messages:
Instagram Direct in April 2017
It seems strange to not have combined the two earlier. For Instagram it appears the disappearing messaging feature was a slow rollout. Can’t surprise Instagram users with a full blown transformation to Snapchat all at once, eh?
Instagram users can now access the blue camera icon in three different places on the Direct screen. The camera icon appears three places on the Direct screen: at the bottom; next to each individual thread; and within individual threads.
So many ways to create content! Instagram created a 47-second video to show what you could send, using the characters rock, paper and scissors with the song "Sonny’s Boogaloo" by Sonny Knight and The Lakers playing in the background.
Unlike Snapchat, Instagram threads will display the actions that take place. Even though a photo disappears, for example, the text thread will show that a person had sent a photo. As before, senders are notified if you screenshot a thread. Snapchat also has Bitmoji and video and audio calls as exclusive features — for now.
Still, Instagram has the bigger audience. Instagram reported Tuesday that the number of people using Direct has grown from 300 million in November 2016 to 375 million every month. Snapchat does not report monthly active users but last touted 161 million daily active users.
Instagram isn’t completely Snapchat, of course. Instagram users cannot replay disappearing photos or videos once you’ve seen them. However, Instagram said it plans to introduce such a feature soon.