Instagram’s next project is a standalone shopping app

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Instagram isn’t resting after launching its new IGTV video platform in July this year. According to The Verge (opens in new tab), the Facebook-owned image- and video-sharing platform is now working on a new app most likely called IG Shopping.

Whether that’s the final name of the app is as yet uncertain, but the premise behind IG Shopping is to allow users to follow merchants on the potential new platform, browse through a collection of goods for sale and make purchases directly.

If this sounds familiar in any way, then you might be familiar with Instagram Shopping, which rolled out to users in eight countries early this year. This feature lets businesses use ‘shoppable’ tags on posts, allowing users to buy merchandise directly from the image itself.

Building castles in the air

There are no other details available yet on the new app, not even a launch timeline. In fact, The Verge notes that the app “could be canceled before its release”, although Instagram is believed to be optimistic about its further expansion into e-commerce.

As per a person familiar with the project, Facebook could potentially add more tools for merchants if IG Shopping takes off, putting it in direct competition with other online e-commerce platforms like Shopify or Amazon Webstore.

With Instagram Shopping already available on the main app itself, Facebook has a good foundation to build upon, but given the social media giant’s tarnished reputation on the privacy front, it would be interesting to see how the potential new platform safeguards user payment details.

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (yes, she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing cameras and lenses, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She also contributes to Digital Camera World and T3, and helps produce two of Future's photography print magazines in Australia.