Facebook, which owns Instagram, is apparently holding a secret weapon that might finally seal the deal to Snapchat's ultimate demise.

The company is reportedly developing an app named Threads that will encourage constant, intimate sharing between users and their closest friends.

As The Verge reports, Threads is being designed as a companion app to Instagram, and it will invite users to automatically share their location, speed, and battery life with friends. It also lets users craft text, photo, and video messages using Instagram's creative tools. The app is intended to be used with one's close friends on Instagram and, the report adds, is currently being tested at Facebook.

It's not clear when Threads might launch. Facebook has yet to comment on the matter.

Instagram Prepares Threads App

Back in May, Instagram Direct was gutted, a huge loss for the folks who loved the camera-first app that bore a striking resemblance to Snapchat. Launched in 2017, Instagram Direct was tested in Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay but was canceled without so much as concrete plans for a worldwide release prior. At the time, executives said beta testers were annoyed about having to switch between Instagram and a second app just to send a message to friends.

This year, Facebook announced plans to consolidate its messaging efforts, which would involve launching a messaging service, or feature, that would work on all its apps simultaneously. Which is all to say the idea of a standalone app seems to contradict Facebook's consolidation efforts. However, this app might prove more popular given it's being built around one's close friends.

Snapchat Killer?

If that sounds familiar, that's because it is: for the longest time, Snapchat's appeal has been its innate minimization of sharing things with just the right people. Which is probably why there are previous reports that indicate the average Snapchat users spends more time inside the app than the average Instagram user does. Facebook has long coveted Snapchat's strong engagement with users, especially among the younger demographic. Threads could be the weapon it needs to topple Snapchat in this department.

Again, no word yet on when Threads might launch, if it even will. There's a chance it might not make it at all, something that's certainly occurred before, namely Direct. Consider, however, that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said this past March that he sees private messaging as the future of the company. Threads seems like it would fit into that vision perfectly.

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