Instagram seems to be gunning for Snapchat, as it just launched its own version of "Stories" featuring ephemeral content.
The name is not the only thing similar to Snapchat, as the new Instagram Stories works just like Snapchat Stories — users can post ephemeral photos and video slideshows that will disappear in 24 hours. However, Instagram Stories will appear at the top of your feed, meaning that your followers will see them easily, without you having to build an audience in another app.
Snapchat Stories played a big role in the company's impressive growth rate and Instagram is likely looking for a similar boost. Instagram currently has roughly 300 million daily users, but the new Stories section could greatly alter the nature of the app and the way it's used.
People currently share various photos and videos of Instagram, whether it's an artistic nature shot, a swiftly filtered selfie, an artsy shot of your food or something of the sorts. Ephemeral stories, on the other hand, could get people to share more than the occasional highlight, and could attract more users to the platform.
"Today, we're introducing Instagram Stories, a new feature that lets you share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile," says Instagram.
The company further points out that Instagram Stories means you no longer have to worry about posting too much. The photos and videos you share in your new Instagram story will vanish after 24 hours, so they don't remain in the feed or on your profile.
Stories from those you follow will appear at the top of your feed, and their profile photo will get a colorful ring around it when there's new content to see. Simply tapping on someone's profile photo will let you see that person's newly posted story.
From there, you can either tap to go back and forward, or swipe and jump to another user's story. You can also tap to leave a comment on the story, or send a private message via Instagram Direct.
Because they're not exactly regular posts, the ephemeral Instagram Stories don't allow for public comments or likes.
When it comes to privacy, Instagram Stories will respect the privacy settings you have in place for your Instagram account. If your account is private, for instance, only your followers will be able to see your Stories. If you prefer to hide a story from someone, you will be able to do so even if that person is following you.
To check who has seen your photos and videos, simply swipe up when watching your own story.
Instagram Stories will be rolling out globally on Android and iOS over the following weeks, but no specific date is available at this point.