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Instagram to become IM-stagram with new instant messaging feature?

Instagram to become IM-stagram with new instant messaging feature?
Instagram could get a chat feature before the end of the year
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Instagram has become a household name thanks to its filter-friendly photo and video sharing tools, but the Facebook-owned company reportedly has no plans to stop there.

Sources within the company have told Gigaom that the next version of the app will feature a private instant messaging feature that will allow users to converse beyond the current commenting mechanism.

The feature is likely to be integrated into an update before the end of the year, according to the "well-placed sources," and could even enable group messaging, which the site has reportedly experimented with.

Integrating messaging could give the photo sharing network a shot at competing with apps like Snapchat, which are proving popular with the younger sectors of Instagram's audience.

The Snapchat effect

Indeed, Facebook itself reportedly attempted to buy Snapchat for $3 billion recently amid a significant surge in its popularity, so may be operating under a 'If you can't beat of buy 'em, join 'em' strategy.

An Instagram spokesperson declined to comment on the report.

Is instant messaging to 2013 what filtered photos were to 2013? Would you welcome IM within Instagram? Let us know in the comments section below.

A technology journalist, writer and videographer of many magazines and websites including T3, Gadget Magazine and TechRadar.com. He specializes in applications for smartphones, tablets and handheld devices, with bylines also at The Guardian, WIRED, Trusted Reviews and Wareable. Chris is also the podcast host for The Liverpool Way. As well as tech and football, Chris is a pop-punk fan and enjoys the art of wrasslin'.