With messaging being a key area of focus for Facebook in 2019, that means every property that’s gone without chat features so far may soon get them — including Instagram for the web.
Instagram is testing the ability for web users to send direct messages, on both desktop and mobile. That’s according to a Tweet from app researcher Jane Manchun Wong, who looks for yet-to-launch features through reverse engineering. Manchun Wong has previously spotted early versions of Instagram’s Time Well Spent tool and Facebook Dating. The news was first reported by TechCrunch. Instagram told TechCrunch that the feature isn’t being publicly tested yet.
Instagram is testing Direct on Web pic.twitter.com/bpdY9bep24
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) February 12, 2019
Though it’s worth noting that Instagram tests a lot of features and not all of them get rolled out, it would be a welcome feature for users who are tired of the number of apps cluttering their phone and want to browse services like Instagram on the web instead. The features included on Instagram’s web version are already limited — users can’t upload photos or add to Stories. If Instagram added the ability to send messages on the web before letting users add to photos or Stories, it would be further validation that one of the most promising areas for Instagram is messaging.
The news also comes on the heels of Facebook’s plan to unite its messaging services, allowing Instagram users to message Facebook and/or WhatsApp users. To that end, Facebook is also giving businesses, starting in the U.S. and Brazil, the ability to respond to Instagram direct messages from their Facebook page inbox. A key component of uniting messaging services will be making it easy for users to access their messages, regardless of whether they’re using an app, their laptop, or their mobile browser.