Instagram testing a stand-alone messaging app called Direct

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If Direct's installed on an iOS or Android device alongside Instagram, the latter's familiar messaging inbox disappears; It's superseded by Direct, which launches with a swipe right from anywhere in Instagram. Direct also has four exclusive photo and video filters that are not now in the main Instagram app, including a amusing one that randomly bleeps your voice and covers up your mouth.

Facebook now operates two of the world's most popular messaging apps in Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp that both have more than a billion active users. The move would mirror the actions of its parent company Facebook, which removed messaging from the core Facebook app in 2014 and replaced the feature with the standalone Facebook Messenger app.

The app is now available today in six countries: Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay, on both, iOS and Android.

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It's unclear at this time whether Facebook plans to launch the Direct app globally.

Instagram confirmed it was testing a new app to Quartz.

According to The Verge, Direct opens in the phone's camera app, allowing users to snap a photo or video or send a message to users. If you do want to send photos, though, it's a fun experience - right now, there are four different filters on the test app. The Verge reports that the app has three screens-the camera screen, a profile screen, and your inbox. However, unlike Messenger, which always had the potential to be a full fledged messaging app, Instagram Direct only really works or is relevant within the realm of Instagram and becomes largely irrelevant on its own. Direct also ships with four exclusive filters and is ultimately seeking to grow its user base even more by providing people with a more focused experience, albeit one that's still deeply integrated into Instagram. A swipe down in this pane will reveal a text field with a gradient background in case you just wanna type something up for someone. To recall, Facebook forced users to install Messenger app to chat with friends. Whether that happens later or not remains to be seen but it makes sense for it to be within the messaging app.

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