This is probably the first step towards Facebook plans for unified messaging as Instagram test the ability to send and receive direct messages through its website on mobile and desktop devices.
Currently, the desktop experience on Instagram is a minimal, pared-down version of the mobile app that shows little more than the feed. There’s still no direct way to upload photos, and the service is slow to add new features.
Browser notification support was added only last September. Some features, such as the ability to upload stories, are restricted to the mobile app and mobile web only. Instagram has said it has “no plans to let users upload photos or stories from the desktop.” Direct messages coming to the web would be a huge step forward for the previously mobile-only app.
App researcher Jane Wong tweeted the screenshot of the feature and the test feature added a direct message icon to the menu bar on the web, which would enable users to view, respond to and send new DMs.
The move could have something to do with Facebook’s plans to consolidate Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram DMs into a single, unified platform.