Instagram's latest attack on Snapchat is a messaging app called Threads

Facebook is developing a new messaging app called Threads that aims to promote constant, intimate sharing between users and their best friends, The edge has learned. Threads, designed as an associated app on Instagram, invites users to automatically share their location, speed, and battery life with friends, along with more typical text, photo, and video messages using Instagram's creative tools. The app, which is designed to share with your list of & # 39; good friends & # 39; on Instagram, is now being tested internally on Facebook.

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Instagram declined to comment.

In May, Instagram stopped working on Direct, a stand-alone messaging app that it had developed since the end of 2017. At the time, beta testers were frustrated about having to switch between Instagram and a second app when they wanted to send a message. But the company has remained interested in building new messaging experiences, executives have said. Instagram employees who work on messages were moved to the Facebook Messenger team earlier this year as part of a broader consolidation between the parent company and the valued acquisition.

A messaging app built around your close friends may be more popular. That is what Snapchat is today for a healthy part of its users. Reports have indicated the average Snapchat user spends more time in the app than the average Instagram user. For Facebook and Instagram, who have been longing for Snapchat's strong involvement with younger users, threads can represent another try to take away the appeal of their rivals.


Illustrated screenshots of the Threads app now under development by Instagram.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Screenshots reviewed by The edge display an app designed to constantly, automatically share between users and the people on their list of & # 39; good friends & # 39; promote on Instagram. Sign up for automatic sharing and Threads will update your status regularly so that your friends get a real-time overview of information about your location, speed and more. Threads is not currently displaying your real-time location – instead it could say that something like a friend & # 39; en route & # 39; is, according to sources familiar with the matter.

You can also update your status manually, with statuses appearing along with messages in the main feed. It is the last attempt to automate status sharing using mobile phone sensors and one-tap status sharing. (An app named Status tried something similar in 2014and the free app from Danny Trinh took a different approach in 2015.)

The core of Threads seems to be messages and it is very similar to the existing message product within Instagram. Messages from your friends appear in a central feed, with a green dot indicating which of your friends are currently active. If your friend has recently posted a story, you can also view it from Threads. Threads also has a camera, with which you can take photos & videos & # 39; s and send them to your good friends.

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It is unclear when Threads can be started. Facebook can end development before the app is sent to the general public, such as with Direct. But Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in March that he sees private messages as the company's future. Threads seem to represent the company's latest effort to realize that vision.

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