Instagram now offers cross-app messaging and calling with Messenger.
The plan to merge the two services was first announced by parent-company Facebook in early 2019, with today’s official announcement coming after a trial period that started in mid-August, 2020.
It means that users of Instagram and Messenger will be able to exchange direct messages, photos, and videos with friends and family without hopping in and out of different apps, or downloading new ones.
The change is currently being rolled out on Instagram and Messenger in a number of countries around the world, with a global expansion coming soon.
The social networking giant also intends to merge the messaging services of another of its acquisitions, WhatsApp, in the near future, and add secure end-to-end encryption between all three.
“People are communicating in private spaces now more than ever,” Facebook wrote in a post announcing the update. “More than a billion people already use Messenger as a place to share, hang out and express themselves with family and friends. That’s why we’re connecting the Messenger and Instagram experience to bring some of the best Messenger features to Instagram — so you have access to the best messaging experience, no matter which app you use.”
No download is needed, though for the time being at least, users have to opt in to use the new system. At some point, we can expect that everyone will be automatically moved to the new experience.
Facebook is offering a bunch of new features to encourage people to make the switch, among them access to so-called “selfie stickers” and a new way to watch videos with friends and family during a call, while a new “vanish mode” lets you set messages to automatically disappear after they’ve been seen.
Explaining why it decided to merge the services, Facebook