Strava is taking a step closer to becoming a true social network, adding in-app messaging to let users send private one-to-one and group messages. This new feature, available to both free and premium subscribers, unifies all activities in a single app. Users can chat with anyone in their network or start a custom group through a speech bubble icon at the top-right of the app. Known as the de facto activity tracking platform for millions, Strava has evolved into a social network, letting users interact with groups, comment on activities, and give kudos. Messaging was one of the platform’s most requested features and after being marked as “under consideration” for some time, it will be rolled out in an update starting today. Users will have the ability to set their own preferences for messaging and group invites, with messaging defaulting to the user’s profile visibility setting, though these settings can be adjusted. While the messaging feature does not include end-to-end encryption and lacks features such as photo-sharing and read receipts, Strava has implemented robust security measures to protect user data. The move to include messaging is part of a larger narrative seen across social networks, where smaller and private spaces are becoming more popular. By adding messaging, Strava hopes to increase engagement and reduce churn, making itself as “sticky” as possible for users as it looks for a potential exit route, whether that be an IPO or acquisition.