As the year comes to a close, Instagram's user-base has nearly doubled. Boasting an additional 70M+ users in addition to the 80M+ they had last year proves just how viral the social network gone especially among young people. A big live event in New York recently took place as Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom discussed future plans for the company heading into 2014.

The most notable announcement that came from the meeting was the debut of Instagram Direct. After SnapChat declined the infamous $3 billion offer from Facebook, the social media giant decided to integrate a similar feature into Instagram which will go head to head with SnapChat directly. Instagram Direct gives users the ability send recorded videos and photos stored on your phone to up to 15 friends of their choice. This allows you to send sensitive media to friends without your entire list followers being able to view it.

A private feed will is now provided in which users selected by you to follow will be able to send you images and photos. If a random user attempts to send you something, a request option will then appear for you to accept or decline. If want to be able to view the content but don't want to follow them for future updates, an option to receive direct moments from them without having to follow them is also provided. Adding and removing users to this private feed is simple, but you won't be granted the ability to view video/images when a request is pending. If you're interested in adding a caption, this feature is also included when sharing a video or photo using Instagram Direct.

Once a friend views the media, a check mark will appear next to it indicating they have received and viewed the photo or video. If they choose to “like” the media, a heart will appear to indicate this. Since Instagram has now increased its usability and increased the depth of features, it will be interesting to see what happens with Snapchat users as the update had similar functionality to the popular app. This new Direct functionality can be utilized by downloading the latest Instagram update which is available now in both the App Store and Google Play.

Via: Engadget
Source: Instagram