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(Pocket-lint) - Instagram's next venture may be past photo and video and into messaging, according to GigaOm. The company is said to be gearing up to launch new private messaging features right inside the Instagram app. There is even talk of group messaging.

It may seem a little odd that Instagram would venture away from its main product into messaging, even when owned by Facebook, which already has prominent messaging functionality. However if you look at Instagram trying to get a leg up on competitor Snapchat, it may make a bit of sense.

Instagram declined to comment on the rumour. GigaOm wasn't able to provide a timeline for the new functionality's launch, but said it is likely to be found in the next version of Instagram to be released by the end of the year. It wouldn't surprise us if that's before Christmas, so Instagram has a spankin'-new feature with which it can attract users.

Maybe thanks to Facebook's backing, Instagram has been on a tear with its product. More users are being added each month, its video product has kept it from dying against Vine, and engagement among youth seems to be up. And if you want to look on the business side too, its new advertising feature just launched so it finally has a way of making money.

It's not clear how the messaging will work. Will Facebook finally indulge itself into the Instagram app, or will Facebook and Instagram messaging remain completely separate?

If GigaOm is to be believed we shouldn't be waiting much longer to find out.

Writing by Jake Smith. Originally published on 25 November 2013.