Instagram turns itself into a genuine messaging service

Instagram has just added a bunch of new instant messaging features to its mobile apps, making it easier to hold one-to-one conversations, share photos privately and keep track of group chats on the platform.

Instagram Direct launched back in December 2013, giving users the option to send photos privately, but up until now it’s been fairly limited as a DM platform – users had to start conversations with a photo, for example, and could only reply with text rather than another picture.

Now both of those limitations have been dropped. What’s more, it’s now possible to share something straight from your feed into a private conversation, reducing the need for all those @mentions cluttering up the comments.

Pick up the thread

The newly added threaded conversations feature makes it easier to pick up chats where you left off, and Instagram obviously wants to tap into the success enjoyed by WhatsApp – both apps are owned by Facebook, of course.

“With these changes to Direct, it’s easier to connect around the things you love,” enthuses Instagram in the official blog post. “We hope it helps bring the community closer together than ever.”

According to Instagram, around 85 million people (from a total userbase of 300 million) make use of Instagram Direct. The new upgrades available now on iOS and Android should see that figure climb further.