Last week, Facebook-owned photo-sharing service Instagram unveiled a new feature dubbed `Instagram Direct', which will facilitate the nearly 150 million Instagram users in sending photo and video messages privately to friends and family.
According to Instagram's announcement, the new Instagram Direct feature is now available for immediate download from the Apple App Store and the Google Play store.
The unveiling of the new Instagram Direct feature comes at time when the photo-sharing service is facing increasing competition from apps like Snapchat and Vine. The Instagram Direct launch has been announced two days after the Twitter mobile app has been updated to make way for photos in private messages.
Announcing the Instagram Direct feature at Manhattan on December 12, Instagram founder Kevin Systrom that the feature has been designed to foster relationships; with the users allowed to send photos and videos in private messages to up to 15 other users.
However, describing the launch of the Instagram Direct service as a "clear move" by Facebook to ensure the engagement of users, Ovum's chief analyst Eden Zoller said: "Instagram is being threatened by more direct rivals such as Vine and Snapchat, but is also seeing indirect competition from popular messaging services like WhatsApp, where users are spending more time at the expense of Instagram and also Facebook itself."
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