Instagram Stories is Here to Kill Snapchat

Instagram Stories has been released in an update to the photo-sharing app this week, with it looking set to become a true Snapchat killer. 

The new feature allows users to post ephemeral photo messages, which will be automatically deleted after 24 hours. The photos do not appear on your Instagram page, so you needn’t worry about applying the right filter or loading their descriptions with hashtags, with them instead displaying at the top of your followers’ feeds. 

The format of Stories directly copies Snapchat, allowing users to take photos or record short videos, before applying text or providing a quick doodle with the feature’s customization options, then posting it for all their followers to see. New photos/videos can then be added to these Stories, with them able to be viewed in a slideshow throughout the day. Whenever a user adds a photo or video to their story, a colored ring will be displayed around their profile icon at the top of their followers’ Instagram feeds, alerting them that an update has been made.

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If it sounds like the idea for Instagram Stories has been directly lifted from Snapchat, that’s because it has. Speaking to TechCrunch, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom said that Snapchat “deserves all the credit” for the format Instagram Stories has adopted, adding: “When you are an innovator, that’s awesome. 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.”

Instagram’s “own spin” is an interface that’s vastly more user friendly, improving upon Snapchat’s vaguely outlined features by way of providing direct instructions that make it more intuitive, allowing new users to easily get to grips with using it. It also boasts the advantage of Instagram’s huge user base, with the app reaching 500 million active monthly users, a number that will no doubt be increased by this new feature.

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So will Instagram Stories actually manage to “kill” Snapchat? Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, certainly doesn’t have a good track record of emulating the photo messaging app, with Instagram Stories the fourth in a line of failed attempts to develop their own similar service, following the likes of Poke, Instagram Direct and Slingshot. However, Instagram Stories works in that it fundamentally improves upon Snapchat’s core features, then adds it to an existing social network that already has millions upon millions of members. If Facebook cannot court users away from Snapchat with this solid attempt, then it’s doubtful that they’ll ever be able to.

Top Image: AFP / Getty Images