Instagram, the filter-centric social network, took to the stage this morning before a small crowd of press to announce their latest experiment, Instagram Direct. Instagram already lets you share photos with everyone on your list, but no real option for messaging and keeping up with specific followers. Instagram Direct allows users to share photos with select groups of people to keep that inside joke a secret or share something special with a loved one.
Available for Android today, the new update will add an inbox feature into Instagram that allows users to start private conversations with people or groups of people. A direct message has to start off with a photo, but from there, text can be exchanged back and forth between the members of that group. Instagram now has a real time list of users running on it so you can see your friends online as they open the app and you will get notifications as soon as someone likes your photo or replies to your direct message.
Here is how it works:
To send a photo or video to specific people, tap the camera button to enter the same simple photo or video capture and editing screens. At the top of the share screen, you’ll see the option to share with your followers (“Followers”) or to send to specific people (“Direct”). To send using Direct, tap the names of the people you want to send your photo or video to, write your caption, tap “send” and you’re done.
Update: We have the .apk available for download right here.
Instagram 5.0 will be available for download in Google Play sometime later today. Will you use this, or is it just another messaging service in the long list out there?