Instagram, the photo and video social media platform, now also offers messaging thanks to its Direct update.

Direct will allow users to send and receive messages with other member in real time, much like WhatsApp. But unlike that this will allow you to add filters to images before sharing. You can also create mini-groups and conversations. So it is messaging, but more akin to shared iCloud, rather than like Snapchat or WhatsApp.

The messaging part of Instagram Direct will be built into the app. Next to the usual Social tab is a Direct tab that lets you choose contacts and add up to 15 to share with them. Once the person you've sent it to views the image you get a tick mark to show it's been seen. And if that person Likes it the tick changes to a heart.

instagram announces direct messaging service image 2

Much like Twitter only people you follow will be able to send you photos and videos. Anyone else who sends anything will have their message put into a pending request folder.

Instagram 5.0 is available on iOS and Android with the Windows Phone version still in beta.