Instagram is responding to the threat from Snapchat, and releasing a direct messaging of photos on their service. Unlike Snapchat though the photos will not self distruct, but last forever.
“Photos alone are just art, photos when transmitted become communication,” CEO Kevin Systrom said during a press conference in New York City. “Sometimes, you want to be able to share not with everyone, but just with a specific group,” Systrom said. “You can’t really do that on Instagram today… We stepped back and thought what would we build if we wanted to enable this use case?”
To use the messaging service, open up your followers panel and then choose the “Direct” tab. In it, you can send a direct message with text and photo or a video to one or multiple contacts. The only people who can send you photos are your followers, so only your friends that you know through Instagram. Instagram said it started the year at 80 million users but now the service has 150 million people using the service globally.
The photos you send can be view multiple times for however long your friends chose to look, and they won’t disappear after so long. The question is if this service will be used a lot or if anyone will take notice. The videos on Instagram was a response to Vine, but after the first few weeks not very many people used the video part of the app.
The app will get an update today for many, and you’ll be able to start using the direct messaging feature. A similar update with Twitter allowing you to send pictures via dm has popup. Will you use Instagram Direct or stick to Snapchat or Twitter?