Instagram tests 'Threads' app with automatic updates for close friends

A new messaging app is in the works at Facebook.

Facebook is reportedly working on a standalone companion messaging app for Instagram. The Verge reported today that the app, which will be called Threads, appears to mimic many of Snapchat's most popular features. The new app is designed to be used with your "close friends list" on Instagram and would allow users to share details like location, speed and battery life. Users will also have Instagram's full suite of creative tools at their disposal, including text, photo and video messages.

The social media giant has struggled for a while to create a new, standalone messaging app for Instagram. It abandoned its Instagram Direct app -- still in beta -- back in May. Threads appears to be Facebook's attempt to merge the best of Instagram and Snapchat into one vessel. Much like Snapchat, Threads will allow you to automatically send updates to your entire friends list. The popularity of location sharing on social media has had its ebbs and flows -- but it appears it's making a return. Snapchat earlier this year unveiled Snap Map, a new feature that allows users to see where their friends are located.

In order for Threads not to die an untimely death like Instagram Direct, it's likely it needs to be more than a messaging app. A variety of new features and old favorites -- along with access to a curated list of close friends -- could give Threads the staying power it needs.