Instagram just announced a new feature to its platform that now makes the photo sharing app a Snapchat copycat.
The Facebook-owned company revealed on Tuesday the ability to now allow users to capture their own disappearing messages so that they can let their followers follow them throughout any given day.
Called "Instagram Stories," the feature is basically a slideshow for photos and videos that are strung together and then disappear after 24 hours. If this sounds familiar, that's because its competitor has what is known as Snapchat Stories.
Instagram has no shame in its game.
"They deserve all the credit," Instagram CO Kevin Systrom said in an interview with Tech Crunch. "This isn't about who invented something. This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it."
However, just how similar is Instagram Stories when compared with Snapchat Stories?
Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat Stories
At its core, there is really no difference between the two features. It's essentially as if Facebook acquired Snapchat (something it has wanted to do) and merged the two apps together.
To add content to their Instagram Story, users simply tap on the plus icon located in the uppermost left corner of the app. Just like on Snapchat, the user can share photos or 10-second videos, complete with the ability to draw on the image and add emojis. They can also share from their camera roll and save the Story, a feature Snapchat just launched with Memories.
However, Snapchat does have one up on Insta since it has the most attractive feature: its fun filters.
While there are color filters that can be accessed by swiping like on Snapchat, don't expect to see the type that are always changing on the competition's app. However, Facebook previously acquired the photo filter app MSQRD during the spring, so it's only a matter of time before more interactive filters like Snapchat's begin to be introduced on Instagram.
If you think about it, Instagram was the one that introduced filters for photos first; it's just that Snapchat found a way to make them more engaging and addicting. So, users can't really blame Instagram for trying to find a way to keep its platform relevant by using what is working.
A user's Story will then disappear after 24 hours. Followers will be able to view Stories by others by tapping on their profile pic that is featured in the bar on top of their feed. When a user adds something new, their profile photo will have a colorful ring around it. Content is displayed in the order based on who the user interacts with instead of in chronological order.
Snapchat Stories, on the other hand, organizes the new content in "Recent Updates," with the user having the ability to scroll down to see all stories. Its Stories page is separate from the app's landing page.
The Instagram user can then swipe to view all of the user's Story and comment on it via direct private messages, whereas Snapchat has a private chat feature.
Also like Snapchat, the Instagram Story creator will be able to know who has seen their content, but they won't know if someone took a screen shot of it.
What's different from the way Snapchat works is that Instagram Stories can be seen by anyone if that account is public. This means the user doesn't have to follow a specific account to see what they are up to. Users can also block certain followers from being able to see their Stories if they are friends on the platform.
Although Instagram took a direct page from Snapchat, all apps borrow aspects from their competition, in some sense. Instagram Stories could be a great way to get people to continue to post to their feeds, since the platform is known for being a place to share the best of the best moments. Instagram users can then get more real with their followers, while those who want to get in on the Snapchat craze but who don't want to learn or get a new app can have it all right there from Instagram.
However, will heavy Snapchat users really use this feature? Do we really need two apps? Maybe one will come out of this the clear winner. Only time will tell.
Instagram Stories will begin rolling out globally over "the next few weeks" on iOS and Android.