Photo sharing app Instagram may have a messaging feature in the pipeline that will see it rival Snapchat.
According to recent rumours – which come from a ‘well-placed source’ quoted in GigaOM – the Facebook-owned platform has been experimenting with a message feature that will allow its users to chat between themselves privately.
At present, the only way Instagrammers can communicate on the network is via tagged photo comments.
The social network is also reportedly considering a group messaging facility similar to that offered by Snapchat – the popular app which allows users to send each other photos that vanish within 10 seconds.
Speaking to GigaOM, the source failed to clarify whether the group messages will disappear after a set time or will be more permanent, like those sent over Facebook.
Rumours surrounding the new feature suggest it will be introduced with an update to the software, which is set for release later this year.
A private messaging facility is expected to be welcomed by Instagram’s users, particularly as picture comments – when given as part of a full conversation – can prove difficult to track; other than the original uploader of the image, users aren’t notified when a comment has been left, unless the person commenting ‘tags’ the recipient.
There are already a number of Instagram messaging apps from third-party developers available from Google Play, but an in-app messaging feature could streamline communication between Instagram users and SMEs utilising the service to complement a search engine optimisation strategy.