Facebook’s popular social network Instagram is testing to bring Direct Message functionality to the web version of the app. Soon, you could be shooting emojis and memes right from your computer. You will be able to private message other users on Instagram when this rolls out. It could be from a laptop or desktop, or even via a mobile phone browser.
The feature was first spotted by Jane Manchun Wong, a popular software engineer, app researcher, and tipster. The prototype Wong spotted shows the platform trying to make, Instagram Direct, its direct message service accessible via a browser – mobile and desktop.
The feature has not been rolled out yet since they are still testing it internally at Instagram. Only Instagram employees are currently using to it to identify necessary changes and bugs before they roll it out globally.
Below is Jane Wong’s tweet revealing the new Instagram feature.
Instagram’s Direct on Web will also be available on desktop pic.twitter.com/Y3iTIdDwKV
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) February 12, 2019
After Wong posted the screenshots, she again tweeted that her access to the web Direct feature had been cut off by Instagram. That really proves that they are testing it internally and TechCrunch says Instagram confirmed to them that “it’s not publicly testing this, which is its go-to line when a product surfaces that’s still in internal development.”
Instagram launched the web version in 2013. And it has lagged behind the app in terms of more features. As at now, you still can’t post Stories from the desktop unlike Facebook Stories. Notifications on the web came in 2016 with some other features, like Explore, dropping just last two years.
By the way, this new feature has got me thinking. Is it not just paving the way for Facebook’s decision to unify the backend of Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp to allow a cross-app chat? That might be cool but there are regulation and privacy issues being raised by others.