November 24, 2013
Instagram Could Implement Instant Messaging By 2014
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
While Instagram’s empire was built on the strength of its image filters and its photo and video sharing tools, reports have surfaced suggesting the Facebook-owned firm could soon roll out an instant messaging feature.
As first reported by Om Malik of GigaOm, “well-placed sources” within the company claim that it is “gearing up to launch new private messaging features inside its still red-hot photo and video sharing service.”
Furthermore, the source told Malik that Instagram is also testing out a possible group messaging feature. Both additions will most likely be included in the next version of the app, which should be released prior to the end of the year. Instagram spokespeople declined Malik’s request to comment on the rumors.
“Integrating messaging could give the photo sharing network a shot at competing with apps like Snapchat, which are proving popular with the younger sectors of Instagram's audience,” TechRadar’s Chris Smith wrote on Saturday. “Indeed, Facebook itself reportedly attempted to buy Snapchat for $3 billion recently amid a significant surge in its popularity.”
“It would make sense that messaging would be next on Instagram's list. The popular app, which had 150 million users in September, and likely many more than that now, already allowed users to comment and tag others in their post descriptions,” noted Kurt Wagner of Mashable. “It's unclear what the messaging function will look like, but one could imagine a user might be able to share photos directly with certain friends or groups without needing to post to his public feed.”
“Messaging on Instagram makes perfect sense. Instagram might have started out as a photographer’s platform, but it has since evolved into something that creates social connections between people,” added Malik. “That said, my usual concern with any new Instagram upgrade and any new feature still and will always remain its effect on the experience. The app’s simple and easy interface is the key differentiation for the service and any diversion from that core philosophy in the name of new features can be really detrimental.”
According to ITProPortal news writer Jamie Hinks, these reports surfaced roughly a week after Instagram finally released a long-awaited app for Windows Phone which users left unable to utilize the service for several months after it dropped support for Instance. However, the Windows Phone version of the app is said to lack much of the functionality of the Android and iOS versions, including a lack of video posting and no in-app photo uploading.
Likewise, the rumors surfaced not long after reports claiming that both Google and Facebook had allegedly offered billions of dollars to buy out Snapchat, the self-destructing photo messaging program that prevents potentially-embarrassing images from falling into the wrong hands, said Slashgear’s Chris Burns. The new features could set up a head-to-head battle between the two photo-sharing apps, at least to some degree.