In the lightening fast world of social media technology, being first past the post nearly always pays dividends in the long run.
One need only look at the startling array of updates that Facebook seems to constantly be trialling to realise the truth of such a statement; in the world of the cutting edge, the sharpest minds are king, and with such high financial stakes at play, those minds had better be the quickest at identifying the next big thing if the company for whom they work are to continue to thrive in an ever more competitive and crowded environment.
With the aforementioned Facebook arguably leading the way when it comes to entirely new methods of innovation and confronting its legions of users with engaging content, one need only look at its most similar predecessor, MySpace for evidence of the obscurity that awaits any corporation that rests on its laurels when it comes to creating new and exciting tools and interfaces for their users. There can also be battles won, though, by picking up on technology used by other apps, and using it to one’s own advantage.
For a long time, Snapchat has existed practically in its own sphere of influence, seemingly impervious to other social networking apps, who up until recently hadn’t taken steps to recreate some of the features that have made the instant picture sharing app one of the most popular and widely used apps on the market.
All that changed relatively recently, though, when Instagram introduced a “stories” style option for its users to share pictures and videos of their day in a chronological way that was not dissimilar to Snapchat’s own story function. Facebook soon followed suit.
Now, Snapchat might have another reason to feel a little affronted by their leviathan rivals in the competitive jungle that the social app market has become, after Instagram announced today that it will unveil a new feature for its users that is strikingly similar to one of Snapchat’s own prominent features.
Instagram has announced that it will be rolling out a “face filter” option, which will, as the company itself describes, “turn an ordinary selfie into something fun and entertaining. Whether you’re sitting on the couch at home or you’re out and about, you can use face filters to express yourself and have playful conversations with friends.”
Sound familiar? That’s because it is. Face filters are, of course, one of Snapchat’s most recognisable tools, so it does not seem like too much of a stretch to claim that they probably aren’t feeling too chuffed with today’s proceedings.
Instagram describes the new feature thus:
“Tap a filter to try it on, and keep an eye out for ones that work with a friend. Take a photo or video using the front- or back-facing camera — they even work with Boomerang, so you can easily add an unexpected twist to what you share! When you’re done recording, you can send it to your best friends through Instagram Direct or add it to your story.”
The social networking app also says in their blog post that it is adding a “Rewind” feature to its set of camera tools, which will allow you to play short clips in reverse, as well as a new “eraser brush” that will allow users to draw over their pictures, revealing the image underneath. All pictures come courtesy of Instagram.