On Thursday, Instagram launched their new messaging app ‘Threads’. The app is meant to simplify communication with close friends. Moreover, the app offers users an easy way to share statuses to let close friends know what they’re up to.
“For your smaller circle of friends, we saw the need to stay more connected throughout the day, so you can communicate what you’re doing and how you’re feeling through photos and videos,” as Instagram director of product Robby Stein explains in a blog post.
Threads ties into Instagram’s existing social graph, allowing users to import their “close friends” list from the photo sharing app. Anyone who never set up a close-friends list on Instagram can instead do so directly from the Threads app.
“Threads is a standalone app designed with privacy, speed, and your close connections in mind. You can share photos, videos, messages, Stories, and more with your Instagram close friends list. You are in control of who can reach you on Threads, and you can customize the experience around the people who matter most.”
Users can share videos, photos, stories and text messages directly with those close friends. They can also set a status like “studying,” displaying it to all their close friends within the app. This feature should be familiar to anyone who still remembers using PC-based messaging apps like AOL Instant Messenger (AIM).
Threads also offers a way to automatically set this type of status, in which case the app uses location and other phone sensor data to guess what a person is doing. However, Threads doesn’t actually share a user’s precise location through automatic status updates.
Threads is Instagram’s latest attempt to duplicate some of its functionality in a dedicated app. In June of 2018, Instagram launched a separate IGTV app for longer-form video content, while also including the same content into its main app.
However, publicly available data suggests that the IGTV app didn’t exactly catch on with Instagram’s audience. On Google Play, the app has less than 5 million downloads. Instagram itself on the other hand has over 1 billion downloads on Google’s app store.