Today was the day of the mystery Instagram event that had many a tech site speculating about what the Facebook-owned image sharing giant would announce. A couple of sources were close, but there’s no longer any need to speculate because Instagram has let the cat out of the bag, and that cat’s name is Instagram Direct.
Already live as I write this, Instagram Direct is a new service that will allow users to send direct messages complete with text and either photos or videos to a select group of people, rather than sharing them with your entire follower base.
Here’s a quick video intro to the service:
By all accounts, it seems Instagram made sure to cover all of its bases when it comes to privacy and ease-of-use. Only people you follow can send you an Instagram Direct message, otherwise you’ll simply receive a ‘direct request’ from them.
That request can then be accepted by either following them, or simply allowing that person to send you messages without following them — a decision that can be overturned if, say, you find that all they do is send you duck face selfies and photos of their French toast.
Your own messages can be sent to as many as 15 people at a time and, once sent, you can see who has seen them as well as get notifications when someone likes or comments on the photos the same way you do with any of your standard IG pics.
Finally, all photos you receive via Direct will be kept inside a new ‘Inbox’ where you can access them at any time (and no, these do not self-destruct).
If we were the betting type, we would say Twitter saw this one coming because, appropriately enough, the company introduced its own direct message photo sharing capability one day early. Whatever the case, it seems the photo messaging market all of sudden got a lot more crowded, and SnapChat may soon be regretting turning down Facebook’s supposed $3 billion acquisition offer.
To find out more about Instagram direct, head over to the company’s blog by clicking here or download version 5.0 with all of its Instagram Direct goodness baked right in by heading over to the iTunes App Store and/or Google Play (Windows Phone version in the works).