Instagram, which was bought by Facebook for $1bn, has announced that users can now send photos or videos to individuals or up to 15 recipients.
The original service allowed users simply to publish their own films or photos to a stream that was visible to their followers. Instagram Direct allows users to send messages to people who follow them, and adds a stream of ‘pending’ requests from other users.
“Sometimes you want to be able to share not with everyone but with a specific group – you can’t really do that with Instagram today,” said co-founder Kevin Systrom. “Instagram Direct is a simple way to send pictures and videos to your friends.”
The rise of instant messaging services such as Snapchat and BBM has made the area a particular focus for a host of new companies but Instagram, with 150m users each month, remains one of the largest.
Writing on the Instagram blog, the company said “There are moments in our lives that we want to share, but that will be the most relevant only to a smaller group of people—an inside joke between friends captured on the go, a special family moment or even just one more photo of your new puppy. Instagram Direct helps you share these moments.”
The new app will show users who has seen photos they have shared with indivudals, and update if they indicate that they like it.
The company added: “when you open Instagram, you’ll now see a new icon in the top right corner of your home feed. Tap it to open your inbox where you’ll see photos and videos that people have sent to you. To send a photo or video to specific people, tap the camera button to enter the same simple photo or video capture and editing screens."
"At the top of the share screen, you’ll see the option to share with your followers (“Followers”) or to send to specific people (“Direct”). To send using Direct, tap the names of the people you want to send your photo or video to, write your caption, tap “send” and you’re done. After sending, you’ll be able to find out who’s seen your photo or video, see who’s liked it and watch your recipients commenting in real time as the conversation unfolds. Photos and videos that you receive from people you follow will appear immediately”
The new app is available in the Play Store for Android and for iOS.