Hitting the public market in October, Instagram’s latest messaging app has been touted as a direct competitor to the popular messaging app – Snapchat.
One of the main draws of this app is that it appears to provide users with a more intimate form of interaction with their closest friends from Instagram, separate from the public or non-private experience that the main Instagram app might provide.
Upon opening Threads, users are greeted by a camera interface, similar to Snapchat, with shortcuts to quickly send images or videos to a customised shortlist of close friends. Users can then transition over to the home screen where they will be faced with the stories and conversations the user has had with the people that inhabit their close friends list.
So what separates Threads from other similar apps available on the market?
Similar to Facebook Messenger and Snapchat, Threads has basic messaging and image or video sharing functions that allows users to communicate solely with their closest friends.
The main point of difference with this social app lies in Threads’ automatic status update feature. This feature constantly tracks the user’s location to passively connect with their close friends via automated status updates, highlighting the different activities the user might engage in in their day-to-day lives.
Whilst the app doesn’t provide users with the exact location of their close friends, it does provide users with a sense of what their friends might be getting up to without having to directly engage with them. These automatic status updates can range from the menial “low battery” to more complex statuses such as “at a cafe” or “on the move”.
The good news is that the automatic update feature is completely optional and users can opt in or out of this feature as they wish. However, the bad news is that with the feature disabled, Threads appears to be just a run-of-the-mill messaging app.
Whilst the platform doesn’t yet offer any obvious method of monetisation, it’ll be interesting to see how Instagram further develops Threads to pull in more users and potentially, brands, to face off against the ever-growing pool of instant messaging apps that are hitting the market.