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Everyone wants to be the one messaging app that rules them all — but there’s no such thing, and never will be

Gigaom

If you were engaged in something worthwhile on Thursday rather than paying attention to technology blogs, you might have missed the fact that photo-sharing app Instagram — now a subsidiary of social behemoth Facebook Inc. (s fb) — launched a new feature the company calls Instagram Direct, as Om predicted it would several weeks ago. The new feature essentially turns Instagram into a messaging app, allowing users to send the equivalent of direct messages to friends along with a picture or video.

This feature obviously pits Instagram against a horde of other messaging apps and micro-social networks, including Twitter (s twtr) — which just launched a new photo-enhanced direct-messaging feature of its own — as well as Snapchat, Kik, WhatsApp, and Facebook’s own branded messenger service. It’s getting so smartphone users could probably fill up an entire screen with just apps that involve photo-sharing and/or messaging of some kind.

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