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Instagram adding insta-messaging?

Instagram could add messaging features to its app in order to keep up the fight against rival Snapchat.

The photo sharing service, which is owned by Facebook, is reportedly exploring the feasibility of adding private messaging features to the app that currently offers photo and video sharing.

A “well-placed source” told GigaOM that Instagram is also experimenting with group messaging and the new features are rumoured to be in line for the next version of Instagram, which will be released before the end of the year.

Photo and video comments on the service often descend into full-blown conversations already and in that sense this is the logical next step to Instagram’s über popular service.

Rumours of messaging arriving on Instagram follows a week in which it finally released an app for Windows Phone users after owners of phones using the OS were left out in the lurch after support for Instance was removed months previously.

Instagram for Windows Phone, however, has limited functionality compared to its elder relations on Android and iOS with no video posting available as yet and users currently having to upload photos by using the camera mode outside the app.

An indicator of Snapchat’s popularity is illustrated by the fact that Snapchat users upload almost as many photos and videos as Facebook and Instagram combined. Figures show that 400 million photo and video messages are sent each day by Snapchat users – double the amount of six months ago – with Facebook users uploading around 350 million and Instagram users 55 million.

Facebook purchased Instagram just over a year ago in a deal worth $1 billion [£625 million] and since then Instagram’s user base has grown to 200 million with the new features and platforms helping to augment this number only further.