We have lots of different social networks and lots of different social apps these days. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter. The list could go on with each app having its own specialist feature or use. If you were to take Instagram out of that list and think about what it is good at above all else, you wouldn’t say its best use is staying in contact with your friends. Sure, you can send people messages on Instagram, but you know you’d be more likely to send a message on WhatsApp or messenger than you would be on Instagram.
This could be about to change, however, as reports are coming in of internal testing at Instagram HQ of a brand-new companion app designed to keep you in constant contact with your closest friends.
Threads will work alongside the main Instagram app and will give users the chance to automatically share basic information with close friends and send more typical messages too
According to journalists at The Verge, who’ve obtained leaked screenshots of the new Instagram app, Threads will allow you to automatically share information like your remaining battery life, internet connection speed, and location with your closest friends. The new Instagram app will also offer a more regular messaging app experience with features like text, voice, and video messaging all of which will have Instagram’s regular toolkit ready to make them look as fabulous as possible.
This isn’t the first time Instagram has worked on a separate direct messaging app. The company also worked on an Instagram companion app called Direct, which, you guessed it, was supposed to make it easier for Instagram users to send direct messages to their friends. The thing is though, Direct never actually made it to general release with Instagram pulling the plug before the app made it to the app store. Direct messaging is still an internal part of the main Instagram app.
The key difference with Threads is the addition of the always sharing features that allow you to choose your closest friends who’ll then be ale to always see your live basic information. This automatic sharing will require you to opt-in to the service first, however, before Threads will start publishing your live information. You’ll also be able to view any of your closest friends’ recent Instagram Stories from inside Threads too.
According to The Verge, the main motivation behind developing Threads could be Instagram’s desire to match the impressive levels of engagement that Snapchat enjoys with its users. The average Snapchat user spends more time using the app than the average Instagram user does. Adding something like constant sharing on top of a regular messaging app experience could be a way for Instagram to try and drive up those engagement numbers.
What is missing in the report from The Verge though, is news of a release date for Threads. At the moment, there is no way of knowing when we might see the new Instagram receive a general release on iOS and Android. Indeed, with other Instagram companion messaging apps making it this far along the development path without being released, there is no way to guarantee it will ever be released at all. We’ll just have to wait and see.