Instagram Unveils Instagram Stories in Effort to Challenge Snapchat

Snapchat and Instagram competition is getting more intense as the latest releases its own Stories feature.

The Facebook-owned service doesn’t want to be the perfect solution for sharing photos only. In a major product change, Instagram is making a push to encourage more frequent, in-the-moment sharing.

The Menlo Park company said it is working on a new ephemeral sharing tool dubbed “Instagram Stories” that heavily reminds the core Snapchat feature of the same name.

The new feature will let Instagram users add full-screen photos and videos, overlayed with text, emojis, filters and bright drawings in a slideshow of content that disappears after 24 hours.

“Users can choose to save the clips to their camera roll or share them on their traditional Instagram profile, where they can still post filtered photos and videos per usual. Users can capture clips for Stories through an in-app camera, or share camera roll content that is up to 24 hours old,” Forbes explains.

“As we’ve grown, Instagram has become the best place to share your highlights–the amazing meal out with friends, the beautiful view– but there are a lot of moments in life between your highlights,” said Instagram’s head of product Kevin Weil, noting that users are hesitant to share spontaneously on the app when every post sticks to their profile.

“The community wants more flexibility to share those moments. With Stories, Instagram becomes the best place to share your highlights and all of the moments between your highlights,” he added.

Instagram is extremely popular today. The service has about 300 million daily users which is twice as many daily users as Snapchat, the two apps compete fiercely for young users’ mobile phone time.

Snapchat Stories have been a hit on the messaging service since “Live Stories” saw the world back in 2014. Weil described Stories as a new mobile format that apps will use more and more widely, just as feeds and hashtags have become mainstream.

“Stories is something you’re going to see adopted by a lot of different apps in the same way that Facebook was the first to invent the feed,” said Weil, who joined Instagram four months ago from Twitter, where he served as VP of product.

“The hashtag started on Twitter, but you wouldn’t think twice if you saw another app adopt a hashtag, and you certainly wouldn’t expect them to call it anything other than a hashtag.”

“Stories is a format the community has wanted to use within Instagram for a long time,” he added. For now, Stories won’t contain any advertising.

In an earlier interview in June, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom spoke about the company’s intent to support “less rehearsed, less polished content.”

“Not everyone wants to align the horizon on every moment they share,” Systrom said at the time, noting that users typically post on the app a few times per week, a volume the company hopes to boost.

“How do you get a company built around rules to be the place where you go and experience any place, person, event in the world? We’re going to figure that out so you can express yourself on Instagram and not hold back.”

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