Today, Instagram announced the launch of a brand new feature dubbed Instagram Direct, which is included in the release of the new Instagram 5.0 clients. The new version, which takes a page out of Snapchat's book, is available now for the iPhone's iOS and Android devices.

As you might expect, the new Instagram Direct feature allows users to send photos or videos directly -- and privately -- to one or more targeted Instagram users.

Instagram described the reasoning behind this feature's launch:

There are, however, moments in our lives that we want to share, but that will be the most relevant only to a smaller group of people—an inside joke between friends captured on the go, a special family moment or even just one more photo of your new puppy. Instagram Direct helps you share these moments.

Owned by Facebook, Instagram is a popular free photo and video sharing social network that is visually based, allowing its users to post square images and videos to a public stream. Users can apply special effects to their photos, follow users, comment on posts, tag others, mention others in comments and like posts via the heart button.

To gain access to Instagram Direct, download the new 5.0 client from Apple's AppStore for iOS or from the Google Play Store for Android. To learn more or to watch a video about Instagram Direct, check out the Instagram blog post and the Instagram Direct FAQ.