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Instagram morphs into Snapchat with latest update, and everyone notices

Screen shots from the Instagram app showing its latest feature Instagram Stories. No, this is not a screen shot of Snapchat.


Screen shots from the Instagram app showing its latest feature Instagram Stories. No, this is not a screen shot of Snapchat.



Almost as soon as the photo-sharing app Instagram announced its latest update today, people started calling the new Instagram Stories feature what it is: "Snapchat." 

In fact, there were so many comments on Instagram's official Tumblr blog referencing Snapchat that the post announcing Instagram Stories became the top Google result for "Instagram Snapchat."

Here's what the new Instagram Stories does: It allows people to share with followers photos and videos that have a short lifespan, disappearing after no more than 24 hours. Users can edit those photos and videos with different overlays and text. They can post multiple photos and videos to their to create a sort of slideshow known as their "story." 

It lends itself to holding your phone vertically. There's swiping to the right or left involved. There's a circle at the bottom of the screen. 

Here's what Snapchat already did: all of that. 

Tech companies borrow features invented by other tech companies all the time, though. Hashtags were a Twitter thing, until they started working on Facebook, and Instagram, which was purchased by Facebook for $1 billion in 2012. Facebook tried to purchase Snapchat, too, for a reported $3 billion or more in 2013, but the startup turned the Mark Zuckerberg-run social network's offer down.

Now it seems like Instagram is taking aim at Snapchat, which, like itself, is favored by, and targeting, young Millennials and post-Millennials, who apparently have an aversion to posting things that are "permanent" (at least, until they click a button to delete them). Instagram's announcement says Stories will allow people to post throughout their day, without fear of "overposting," because Stories items won't appear in their timeline. 

The Internet immediately started mocking Instagram Stories over the Snapchat similarities. 

One person nobody probably expected to agree, though, was Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom. According to news site Tech CrunchSystrom didn't hesitate to tell reporter Josh Constine, "They deserve all the credit," when asked about Snapchat. Just like Instagram deserves all the credit for bringing filters to the forefront. 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."

[Last modified: Tuesday, August 2, 2016 3:59pm]


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