Instagram on the web has long played second fiddle to the mobile apps (look at how long it took to get notifications), but that gap is about to narrow considerably. The social network is rolling out direct messages on the web to a "small percentage" of users worldwide as part of a public test following internal experiments in 2019. Much like on your phone, you can participate in regular and group chats, share photos, 'like' messages and receive notifications. More news on a possible wider release is coming in the future, Instagram told The Verge.
The strategy is in line with Facebook's broader goal of a more private experience with a greater focus on messaging than in the past. It ultimately hopes to offer unified messaging across its core plaforms (Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp).
If web DMs are widely available in earnest, they could be very helpful for everyone from businesses dealing with customers through to everyday users keeping up with friends during lunch breaks. On top of this, it fills a big gap in Facebook's strategy -- you could already use the web to chat on Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, so it only makes sense to offer similar access to the Instagram crowd.