What you need to know

  • Facebook is launching a new messaging app — Threads by Instagram.
  • Threads is an app for connecting with your closest friends through messages and pictures.
  • The app opens up directly to the camera, just like Snapchat does.

Our world is filled with an abundance of messaging apps — some good and some bad. Today, Facebook is adding a new addition to the mix with the introduction of Instagram Threads.

Instagram Threads is a separate, standalone app from the main Instagram one, with it being described as "a new camera-first messaging app that helps you stay connected to your close friends."

When you open Threads, the first thing you see is the viewfinder for your camera, making it easy to quickly snap a picture or record a video as soon as the app is open.

Pictures/videos you capture in Threads can only be sent to your Instagram Close Friends, highlighting the people in your life that you have especially close relationships with. You'll see a list of your Close Friends in the Threads app, along with a direct messages inbox for them and support for group messaging.

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In addition to sharing pictures/video and text messages, Threads also supports something called "status." Status will quickly indicate to your Close Friends what you're up to, such as studying, eating, gaming, etc. You can pick one of the pre-made statuses, create a custom one, or use the Auto Status feature that will automatically pick a status for you based on what you're doing (such as on the road, at the beach, or in an airplane).

While Threads is Instagram's new home for direct messaging with your Close Friends, the Direct tab in the main Instagram app is not going away. This is still the only place you can send messages to regular followers, and any ongoing conversations with Close Friends in the Threads app will also show up here.

Threads looks like a nicely-designed app and could be a huge hit, but right now, I'm a little confused as to what Instagram's long-term plan is here. Between the camera being the home page and direct messages just being a swipe away, Threads is very similar to Snapchat — sans the public image/video sharing that takes place on the main Instagram app with Stories.

But, I digress. If you want to try Threads for yourself, it's officially rolling out now for Android and iOS.

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