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

Watch out, Snapchat

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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.