Instagram just released a new feature called face filters, and you probably know what they are since Snapchat has been using a similar feature for the longest time.
Face filters are different visual add-ons or elements — hats, flower crowns, glasses, and more — that you can add to spice up a photo. Instagram calls it an "easy way to turn an ordinary selfie into something fun and entertaining."
Instagram is launching a set of eight face filters initially, and you can expect more will come moving forward. Here's how to use them.
Instagram: How To Use Face Filters
Open up Instagram, then open up the camera. Tap the new face icon located at the bottom right corner. This will launch the face filter screen, which includes a bottom tray where you can select the initial eight filters from. Instagram advises users to keep an eye out for filters that can work with another friend visible on-screen, similar to some of Snapchat's.
Once you've selected your preferred face filter, take the photo and that's that. Face filters even work with Instagram's Boomerang feature, so you may now add filters to looping videos — the creative and wacky possibilities are endless. Once you're done recording, you can share it with friends via Instagram Direct or add it to your Story.
Facebook's Copying Game Continues
With Instagram's new face filters, Facebook — which owns Instagram — is basically squeezing Snapchat dry of its original features, porting Stories clones over to many of its services, including Messenger, WhatsApp, and even the standalone Facebook mobile app. It's an unfortunate blow for Snapchat, which is currently underwhelming Wall Street bigwigs with its lackluster performance as a newly public company.
Snapchat hasn't officially acknowledged Facebook's repeated copying strikes, save for sharply worded criticism from Miranda Kerr, Evan Spiegel's fiancée, and a tongue-in-cheek retort by virtue of a mock filter. Spiegel is famously shy for giving out interviews, so we may probably never know what he thinks about Facebook's many attempts to copy features his company championed. When it gets to a point where Snap is hurting because of it — and that may happen — Spiegel might speak up by then.
All told, the new set of face filters is just a way for Instagram to improve and support its Stories tool, further giving it a chance to evolve the service beyond a simple photo-sharing app. With Stories and the features added to it piecemeal, Instagram is making the service more social, enabling the app to attract more user engagement.
You can be sure the company will add more face filters down the line, possibly even more sophisticated ones, akin to Snapchat's ever-changing lineup of augmented reality-powered filters. What's more, Instagram can also use them as an advertising tool, possibly by working with brands and companies to create special filters.
What do you think about Instagram's new face filters? Will you personally use them over Snapchat's filters? Which app do you think is better at handling the feature? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!