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LinkedIn, Instagram revamp messaging to keep pace with rivals

Both social networks update their messaging platforms to allow for more casual back-and-forth conversations -- complete with emojis.

LinkedIn's revamped messaging feature now allows for more easier conversations.

LinkedIn

Two of the largest social networks have changed the way they do messaging.

Both LinkedIn and Instagram announced Tuesday they have revamped their messaging features to make them easier for users to keep the conversation going -- and going.

LinkedIn, the networking site for professionals, said its messaging feature will allow for more short, casual conversations and group conversations. The company also said it has rebuilt the feature from the ground up for "a more cleaner and more streamlined look" and an improved chat-style interface for faster back-and-forth messaging, Mark Hull, LinkedIn's director of product management, wrote in blog post.

Meanwhile, photo-sharing site Instagram updated its 2-year-old messaging feature, Instagram Direct. It's now possible for users to send photos and videos in an existing message thread, instead of needing to create a new conversation every time they share a photo or video via Instagram Direct.

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Instagram is updating its messaging feature to now allow users to include photos and videos in ongoing conversation threads.

LinkedIn hopes it new messaging feature will put it on par with the likes of Facebook's popular Messenger, Twitter, which recently removed its 140-character limit for direct messaging and Snapchat. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has similar goals, but also says the update creates a new way to "start conversations" around Instagram content. In the end, both services want their messaging products to entice users to not only log in more, but stay for long stretches.

LinkedIn's 380 million members could already send messages to each other through its InMail service, but this new feature lets them add emoji and GIFs to messages. The updated messaging feature is currently available to English-speaking members globally on the Web and on devices running Apple's iOS and Google's Android software. The company plans to make it available in other languages in the coming weeks.

Hull also intimated LinkedIn may add some artificial intelligence component, comparable to Facebook's released last week, to its new messaging feature as well.

"We're excited about concepts like intelligent messaging assistants that can help suggest people you should message or provide you with relevant information about that person before you start a conversation," Hull said. "Or the possibilities with voice and video to make conversations more compelling."

As for Instagram, the company says its more than 300 million members -- who send about 70 million photos daily -- now with the new messaging feature have "the ability to name your groups, a quick camera feature to respond with a selfie on the fly, and larger-than-life emoji for when there are just no words."

It's already been a busy summer for Instagram. It has released a feature called that guides users to real-time news and events. It also has provided capabilities to now search by hashtag or location, and allowed the sharing of high-definition photos.

Update, 3:30 p.m. PT: Adds mention of Instagram also updating its messaging features.