Photo-sharing platform Instagram has undergone some major changes in the last year or so, changing its logo, adding Instagram Stories and now adding a new feature to its app that sees it taking on Snapchat once again.
One of Snapchat’s most loved and used features away from its primary use is the augmented reality features that users add to their snaps. This adds a lens/filter onto the photo to give the user bunny ears, flower crowns, puppy faces and more.
Earlier this week, Facebook-owned Instagram announced the addition of eight augmented reality face filters that its users can now begin to use – including bunny ears and a crown – when adding photos to both their feed and storyboard.
Furthermore, the filters work whether the user is activating the front-facing or rear-facing camera of their smartphones. To access these filters, users simply activate the camera interface and select the new facial icon in the bottom right hand corner. This will then allow the user to take a photo, video or Boomerang video whilst applying these filters.
The announcement came on the same day that the site experienced some unexpected downtime, which sent users into a panic, with many turning to Twitter to make sure this was the case for all users and not just themselves. This outage affected both the desktop and mobile versions of the app. The problem was resolved shortly after.
The continual evolution of Instagram, an app which boasts 700 million active users, could signal the demise of Snapchat, which has a user base closer to 160 million. Augmented reality face filters were one of the photo-messaging service’s most prominent features and were unique to the app. However, this is no longer the case, as it has now been added to the services of its closest rival.
Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, has long been keen to overhaul the popular app since Snapchat owners rejected a bid by Facebook to purchase the company back in 2013. Facebook has tried many different tactics to reach this point, and it seems as though the plan of mimicking its features on a bigger platform may be the strategy that sees it succeed in its overhaul objective.
All the more concerning for Snapchat is that this comes just days after the company reported a huge loss in its first financial update since it became a public company.