Hands-On: Here's Your First Look at Instagram's Direct Messaging App [Download APK]

IG Direct

Instagram may be following Facebook in pushing private messaging into a standalone app

Although it is officially only a test, Instagram's rationale for building Direct app is that private messaging can never be a best-in-class experience when it lives inside an app meant for broadcasting publicly.

When users in those countries install Direct, the messaging feature in the main Instagram app disappears.

A report from earlier today said Instagram was gearing up to introduce a dedicated app for its Direct messaging service, and now an APK of the app has been published by the folks at APK Mirror.

Per Instagram product Manager Hemal Shah, "We want Instagram to be a place for all of your moments, and private sharing with close friends is an important part of that".

By April of this year, Direct had surpassed 375 million users more than half of Instagram's global community of roughly 600 million users.

The company confirmed to CNN Tech it is testing Direct in Turkey, Uruguay, Chile, Portugal, Italy and Israel. You will be happy to know that for the new app, Instagram includes four new filters including one that censors your speech when you least expect it, and another that superimposes your mouth over your mouth (yes, it is as odd as it sounds).

The app is now available in six countries, no word on whether it will be released globally but if all goes well most likely soon.

The only specifics we have, if you can even call them specifics, is that the app will launch globally next year after Instagram has worked out the bugs and responded to user feedback. Also, the new app just seems really cool.

When described that way, Direct makes more sense. Direct opens to the camera, just like Snapchat, and lets you slap some fun filters on your face before firing off a photo to your friends.

Instagram's latestmove follows parent company Facebook's decision to remove private chats from its main app.

The first thing you'll notice in the app is the camera UI.

In August 2016, Instagram released a near-perfect copy of Snapchat Stories, in the form of Instagram Stories.

Instagram added private messaging to its app in 2013. The only real downside is you'll have to install two apps to get the same functionality that's now present in one app.

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