Instagram has made some major announcements so far this year, including the launch of video support and an official Windows Phone app, and today the company decided to round 2013 out with one more big piece of news. Instagram Direct is a new feature that enables users to share photos and video with a specific set of people.
Direct will feature a dedicated inbox in the Instagram app where a user's direct messages will live. Once it's time to share a Direct piece of content, the user can capture a photo or video and edit it as normal. At the Share screen, he or she can decide to share it with everyone or with specific people. The sender will then be able to see who has viewed the content, who's liked it and who's commenting on it in real-time.
Users can send an Instagram Direct message to anyone, even people that aren't following them, though those messages will go into a request queue until the other people approves it. An Instagram Direct post can be sent to up to 15 people at once.
Instagram Direct looks to be the service's version of private messaging, allowing users to share photos and video with a select group and then carry on a conversation with those people away from any public feeds. There are certainly several other ways that this type of private communication could be accomplished, including MMS, but Instagram Direct will be a nice option for lovers of the service to have. Plus, it could help to cut down on the number of photos of food, animals or whatever else annoys you from appearing in your stream. Instagram says that version 5.0 of its app, complete with Direct support, will be available today on both Android and iOS.