Instagram may roll its inbox into a standalone messaging app called Direct

Kevin Systrom

Kevin Systrom

As per reports, Instagram is busy with the making of a stand-alone messaging app. When you open Direct, it goes straight to the camera - perhaps in an effort to condition you into creating and sharing content.

Instagram Direct opens to the camera viewfinder like Snapchat upon launching it, but you can also choose to swipe down to type out a text-based message.

The new standalone app is reportedly just a test, for now, and will start rolling out today for iOS and Android users in six test countries: Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay. 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. You'll have the option of taking either a photo or video and adding your own effects and filters, with some even being exclusive to the app including a superimposing mouth and censor bleeps at random times.

Instagram is testing a standalone app called Direct, which will serve as an app for private messages. Swiping right from the Messages screen in Direct brings you directly to the main Instagram app. The app itself sounds pretty barebones, but the transition Instagram's built between the two sounds incredibly sleek.

According to The Verge's Casey Newton, the raison d'étre behind this app is that Instagram believes messaging can never truly shine when it's tethered to something else.

The Direct app, in its current state, is simple and straightforward.

"Camera-first", huh? That sure sounds a lot like Snapchat. Swiping to the left pane will get you access to your profile and settings, while swiping to the right will get you your list of conversations. When users start swiping to the right while they're already in the Direct inbox, an Instagram logo will pop up.

When Facebook split Messenger off into its own standalone app, it had about 500 million monthly active users.