Instagram has added video and tagging, and now sources claim the photo-sharing service is about to add private messaging, too. With a community of over 200 million users, the company is allegedly looking for ways to further establish itself as one of the premier mobile social networks. Indeed, with Snapchat on such a meteoric rise, it’s certainly important for Instagram to look toward improving upon its service, even if that means shifting a bit of focus away from its core photo-sharing functionality.
Sources speaking to GigaOm say the private messaging feature will find its way into a new version of Instagram by the end of the year, and will work as you’d expect. The timing is expected to play a big role once it finally hits, as smartphones will likely be a very popular gift this holiday season; in turn, many users will experience Instagram for the first time—adding the private messaging feature could potentially keep users inside the Instagram ecosystem longer and lead to extended and more frequent use.
Beyond simple photo-sharing, Instagram has evolved into one of the most vibrant mobile communities, spawning meetups, groups and even relationships. Adding a messaging component might not jive with Instagram initial purpose, which is to share photos, but it’ll certainly add plenty of value to what is currently one of the most popular social networks, mobile or otherwise. Instagram has been able to add new features without breaking the core experience; we’ll see if that’s the case when/if private messaging actually hits.