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News: Introducing Instagram Direct

After teasing a big announcement early last week Instagram has revealed what that announcement is. At a press event held in New York Instagram founder Kevin Systrom announced the introduction of Instagram Direct, a private photo-sharing and messaging for the popular photo sharing app on Android and iOS. Up until now Instagram has been a public sharing social network, with users being able to set their profiles as private if they choose to do so.

Now Instagram users are able to choose between sharing their pictures and videos either privately or publicly before posting. Private messages can be shared between users that follow each other, similar to direct messages sent on Twitter. These private posts can be shared between multiple users, creating a private chat with all the users that can see that post.

The way it works is that when you’re about to post you’ll see two tabs on the top of the screen: Followers and Direct. With Followers tab you’ll post your picture or video publicly on Instagram like you did before the update. The Direct tab on the other hand allows you to choose up to 15 people to share your picture or video with. Once the picture or video is shared through the Instagram Direct function users can like the image and chat within the post like they would normally do in a publicly post.

Additionally, if you receive a picture or video through Instagram Direct from a follower that you don’t follow back you will not see it in your private message inbox. Instead that private message will show up as pending request and you’ll have follow that person back before they can share the private message with you.

With this new private messaging function Instagram has added more incentive for users to continue to share their images and videos on their app. The Instagram 5.0 Update, which brings Instagram Direct with it, is now available on Android’s Google Play and Apple App Store. There is no word on when this update will come to Windows Phone since the Instagram app on that platform is still in beta.

You can check out a preview of the new Instagram Direct below:

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Source: Instagram Blog