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Instagram to add instant messaging features?

Though famous for its numerous filters and the ease of its photo and video sharing capabilities, suggestions have emerged that Facebook owned Instagram might soon introduce an instant messaging feature.

According to GigaOm, ‘well placed sources’ have indicated that the new features “are likely to be included within the next version of Instagram, expected for release before the end of the year.”

Given reports that Snapchat processes around 400 million photos and videos a day, it’s unsurprising that Facebook reportedly attempted to buy the self-destructing media app for an alleged $3 billion. All of this making rumours of their instant messaging feature, even more comprehendible.

It has been suggested that integrating an instant messaging service within the Instagram platform could help the photo sharing service maintain its user base and prevent users being drawn away by the likes of rivals such as Snapchat.

Though few details have emerged of what the messaging function will look like, Kurt Wagner of Mashable suggest that “a user might be able to share photos directly with certain friends or groups, without needing to post to his/her public feed.”

The market for instant-messaging apps is already substantially crowded, with Whatsapp, SnapChat, BBM and Facebook’s own messaging app all enjoying their own chunks of the networking pie.

Last week, after years of availability on both iOS and Android, Instagram was finally rolled out for Windows Phone 8 users.

Could Instagram’s proposed new feature actually prove a hindrance to users, who now comfortable with their preferred app are reluctant to transfer over their numerous contacts and conversations?

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