Tech

Instagram Stories launches and it definitely isn’t exactly like Snapchat (ok, it is)

We've all seen The Social Network. After the whole Winklevoss fiasco (where the Olympic twins claimed Mark Zuckerberg pinched their idea, then settled for a payout and shares worth hundreds of millions), you'd have thought Facebook would be a little more coy when it came to brazenly copying the work of others. 

Turns out they're not.

Introducing Instagram Stories, a new feature on (Facebook owned) Instagram that allows users to share content - content that appears as a slideshow, then vanishes 24-hour after it's posted.

"You don’t have to worry about overposting," goes the Instagram blog. "Instead, you can share as much as you want throughout the day — with as much creativity as you want. You can bring your story to life in new ways with text and drawing tools. The photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed."

Now, if you're suffering a sudden bout of deja-vu - you're not the only one.

Yes. It does sound exactly like Snapchat, doesn't it?

Funny thing is, Instagram's not even bothering to plead ignorance on this one. “They deserve all the credit,” Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom told TechCrunch, before adding the caveat, “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.” 

In fairness, Snapchat can't really throw stones. After all, their house is made from the finest glass. Last month they launched Memories, a service reminiscent of Facebook's On This Day (which Facebook, in turn, pilfered from TimeHop).

The question is, then, just how similar is Instachat, anyway? Sorry, we mean Snapstergram? No, that's not right either. Instagram Stories?

What's the same?

What's the same?

Like Snapchat, Stories chronicles the past 24-hours of posts (images and videos lasting 10-seconds or less), which can be skipped or fast-forwarded by tapping. You can shoot via the app or upload from your camera roll (though only from the past day), with everything vanishing after 24-hours. Stories can be saved to your device, and each post fully customisable with the routine glitter of emojis, text, filters and Microsoft Paint-ish scribbles. 

As with its ghostly counterpart, Instagram Stories are actively viewed by your followers (rather than shoved on to their feed), with replies delivered in the form of direct messages. And, just like Snapchat, you can keep an eye on who's been watching.

What's different?

What's different?

It's not all matchy matchy, mind. Unlike Snapchat's reverse chronology, Stories are sorted by who you interact with most, appearing in a row of the top of your main feed. If your Instagram profile is public, so are your Stories (though you can block users if you want to). Holding the screen pauses a slideshow, and unlike Snapchat you can jump back a slide. Instagram currently lacks the flashy location and selfie filters of Snapchat, though does offer three brush types for drawing, and custom colour control.

Oh, one more thing: beware the creeps. Unlike Snapchat, Instagram doesn't give you a heads up when a user screenshots your Story.

Time will tell whether existing Snapchatters will remain loyal, or quickly abandon ship to unite their Insta feed with Stories. Or just use both. Or neither. We're really not sure, to be perfectly honest. One thing that is certain, however: for once, there exists a social network tool those dastardly Winklevosses cannot sue for.

[via TechCrunch]

Here's a nice video showing it off