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Instagram is ongoing testing for Direct Messaging through desktops and web browsers

Feb 13, 2019, 2:48 am

Instagram is reportedly conducting internal-testing of Instagram Direct Messaging for desktop apps and web browsers, possibly as a preparatory measure for the upcoming integration of the Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram Direct so as to expand encryption and allow cross-app chat.

A web version of Instagram Direct Messaging may enhance messaging services of the app as a platform meant for more than just discussing contents of the app.

Facebook’s own chat feature was originally web-based, after which it got its own mobile Messenger app. WhatsApp, which was a mobile-based app, launched the WhatsApp Web a few years back. So, it can be anticipated that Instagram too would embrace the web.

Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) is to be thanked for her discovery of Instagram internally ‘dogfooding’ (being used and tested extensively by employees to identify bugs and bring in other necessary changes) the upcoming feature. Wong was able to access the feature from both a desktop computer as well as a mobile web browser.

She revealed that the web version Direct can be availed from a Direct arrow icon in the top right of the screen, which from the looks of it will make use of an URL structure of ‘Instagram.com/direct/….’ The photo upload feature is not there on the web version as of yet.

Comparatively, the move by Instagram to bring messaging to desktop and web feels long overdue, and the app still is not user-friendly for desktop users of the app, such as where, unlike Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories cannot be posted from the desktop; and that Instagram added notifications feature as late as 2016 and Explore and other features only in 2017. Instagram had started testing a standalone Direct app last year, but there is no mention of its launch as of now.

Instagram declined to respond to requests for comment before press time, which would mean that the feature is still in the internal development stage.

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