Photo oriented social network Instagram, which recently added video-sharing capabilities to it’s mobile apps, is now looking for a further way to add further value to the platform. The answer? Messaging. Or, at least, that’s what a report from GigaOm suggests:
Well-placed sources tell us that the company is gearing up to launch new private messaging features inside its still red-hot photo and video sharing service. It is also experimenting with the idea of group messaging, our source tells us. The new features are likely to find home in the next version of Instagram, which is expected before end of the year. An Instagram spokesperson (not surprisingly) declined to comment.
Instagram now has over 200 million users and that number is still growing. Video was a good way of expanding the appeal of the app following its Facebook acquisition.
However, apart from the ability to ‘Like’ and comment on shared content, Instagram has always lacked a way to communicate with other users. Adding messaging to the app would be a simple way for users to speak to each other without having to leave the app and use another service.
The market for instant messaging apps is littered with alternatives, though, and adding messaging to Instagram just creates another option for users and further fragments online communication systems. Users are tied into their preferred messaging clients already, their friend lists and conversations would be lost if they jumped ship to another app.
So will anyone opt to use Instagram’s messaging tool if they already speak to all their friends on WhatsApp, BBM, Snapchat, Kik, Google Hangouts, Skype, Twitter, or Facebook’s own messaging app? Will Instagram messaging tie into the Facebook Messenger system or be completely separate? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
At one time I wished Instagram had a messaging function. But now, I feel like the whole messaging app market is a mess. There are so many alternatives with no clear front runner. Adding Instagram to that list doesn’t feel like a solution to me.
What do you think? Is this just what Instagram needs or is it a little too late to really change our messaging habits? Let us know in the comments.