First look at the new Threads messaging app by Instagram

Oct 7
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Instagram has launched a new camera-based message app called Threads, which allows users to communicate with their closest friends. The app is based around direct messaging, media sharing and status updates. If you have used Instagram Direct, Threads will seem familiar since it heavily borrows the core functionality of the former. 

Threads from Instagram by Facebook

Threads is not the only messaging app by Facebook. At the time of writing, Facebook has the following messaging platforms: Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram Direct. What makes Threads different is that it intends to utilize the popularity of Instagram Direct and restricts it to just your Close Friends list.

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When you first launch Threads, it asks you to select your close friends that will appear in the app’s list view. Once the list is set, the app always launches by default in the camera mode. The list view shows the active status of each contact, their Stories, as well as customs statuses which can be set to just about anything like eating, sleeping, etc. The statuses can also be set to appear only for a limited time.

The app also supports ‘Auto Status’, which requires the app to always have access to your location. Using your location, the app automatically updates your status to show whether you are at home or on the move. It does not give away your exact whereabouts but uses your location data to show contextual updates to your contacts.

Threads Auto Status

The camera features some contacts (customizable from Settings) at the bottom, which can be used to quickly share photos and videos. You just need to tap on their shortcut image, like you would on the camera shutter button, to take a photo and send it with just one more tap. Similarly, pressing and holding on a contact’s shortcut in the camera records a video, which is instantly ready to send to that contact. Unlike the main Instagram app’s camera, Threads does not support any filters or stickers. Only basic text and drawing features are supported on photos and videos.

In terms of messaging, the app supports the usual text messaging, media sharing and GIPHY support for GIFs. You can also initiate video calls with your contacts or groups. The app also supports a few different themes, which give the app light or dark looks. Based on the selected theme, the app’s icon also changes.

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Threads CTA in Instagram

While you might not see Instagram pushing Threads through its main app, you might see users with statuses in Direct Messages. Tapping on a user’s status gives you the option to download the app. Note that Instagram’s main app does not allow you to set statuses yet.

Why has Instagram launched Threads?

To be honest, the app does not make a lot of sense right now. It is kind of like a cross between Snapchat, Peach and Path. Path focused on private sharing between a select list of friends, while Peach focused on status updates. Snapchat, of course, is known for making Stories popular.

If Instagram did not exist, Threads might have made more sense, but would have had little reason to be used since it does not do a whole lot right now. Messages from contacts that are not in your Close List, only appear in the main Instagram app so you still have to rely on it. All the filters from Instagram and camera effects like Boomerang are missing. The Auto Status feature is creepy and not many users want Facebook to know their location at all times.

To sum it up: Threads does not do camera better than Instagram, does not let you rely 100% upon it for messaging and also does not support popular features for content creation and sharing. But, if your Instagram Close Friends list is very important to you, you would definitely want to download Threads.

Will you be using this new app? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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