In the social world, a lot of people end up being either Team Instagram or Team Snapchat. If you consider yourself in-between the two, you probably lean more toward Instagram because you were not an avid Snapchatter from the get-go.
The reason I say that is simple: anyone who loved Snapchat for, you know, being what it is and has always been from the beginning, understands just how erroneously Instagram has copied Snapchat. There’s no other way to put that because Instagram has and continues to blatantly copy Snapchat without really caring to hide the fact anymore.
Plus, lest you forget, Instagram is owned by Facebook, who has a previous history of copying Snapchat with apps such as Poke and Slingshot. Maybe that’s part of what Facebook liked about Instagram—that this was finally an opportunity for them to take on Snapchat in a way that would actually go over well.
Don’t believe me? Here are five things Instagram has directly copied from Snapchat.
First things first, let’s talk about where this big debate started. When Instagram launched its ‘Stories’ feature last year, everyone freaked out a little bit. When they announced their “new feature” they explained that Instagram Stories would be a separate feed where users could share photos and videos (and add text, emojis and stickers) but that the feed would disappear after 24 hours.
Snapchat, when it was initially released in 2011, was always about temporary pictures-also known as snaps—existing in a chat form for a more natural conversation. People loved Snapchat and it took off because of the ephemeral nature of those photos or conversations. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Instagram announce that they were doing the exact same thing, but called it “Stories” instead.
On the one end, you had people on Instagram thinking it was such a cool and innovative feature because they had never used Snapchat before. On the other end, you had loyal Snapchat fans pointing out that this is what Snapchat has been from inception. And then in between, you had the people that liked Snapchat for some reasons, but preferred Instagram stories because now they could “have everything in one place.”
No matter which part of the spectrum you fell into, one thing should have been obvious to everyone: Instagram Stories was a direct rip-off of Snapchat. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom was even quoted saying, “They deserve all the credit,” when referencing the similarities between the two.
Snapchat was always more about taking photos of yourself whereas Instagram has already focused more on taking photos of “moments,” referring to places, food or other people you were experiencing. Sure, people do take selfies and share photos that they are in, but, I would argue that the overall concept of Instagram has always been more focused on taking beautiful, filtered photos of other things.
But, now with Instagram Stories—which offers users to turn the camera onto them and draw or write words on said image-it seems to have made a shift to focus on taking selfies.
As I mentioned, Instagram added fun stickers of different types of hats. For example, you can add a pirate hat, cowboy hat and a Viking hat, or silly glasses, party hats and even a monocle to your image. My assumption is that Instagram is doing so because they hope users will use these small stickers in the way Snapchat users turn themselves into dogs with their fun filters.
Instagram probably wants you to take more selfies and play around with adding those stickers so that when they do roll out yet another Snapchat copycat feature, you will be more excited at the idea of getting to use Snapchat-like filters on Instagram and, giving their trend to make obvious copies, I would not be surprised if Instagram offers a filter that turns you into a dog.
Also included in the Instagram Stories announcement was the fact that Instagram users could now add text or draw on their photos. This feature is something that was always specific to the nature of Snapchat too—people would take funny photos and write their comments or draw silly things into the images; or some Snapchat users even grew large followings for their impressive artworks created by drawing images on Snapchat.
By not only adding the disappearing story feature and also adding the ability to draw directly on images or create text boxes, Instagram truly took the extra step to copy the extra details that made Snapchat so likeable and fun to use.
The most recent update to Instagram has yet another and blatantly obvious Snapchat copy: geo-stickers. On Snapchat, users were able to take a photo and scroll through a set of filters where a set were “geo-filters” meaning filters that were specific to the location there were currently in. This could be anything from a city skyline or a specific event, to the name of a park or nearby business.
This week, Instagram rolled out its own geo-filters which look similar to the quickly design of Snapchat ones. While the geo-filters are being called “Stickers” by Instagram, it’s obvious that they are the same thing as a geo-filter, especially since they are currently only live in New York City and Jakarta, Indonesia.
Before Instagram announced geo-stickers, they were already copying Snapchat with their stickers. For example, Instagram immediately added a sticker that will show your location, the time or the temperature of your location—all which were features that were originally part of Snapchat. These are more interactive stickers similar to those that Snapchat offers because it’s a way to let your friends know where you are and what you are doing at a particular time.
Moreover, one of the first set of stickers they started adding that seemed to be a sign they were heading into the direction of geo-filters (and probably eventually interactive filters) were the hat and glasses stickers. If you are familiar with Snapchat, you are aware of the filters that allow users to make themselves look like a dog, or make their face really big and silly looking, or turn them into an older person, etc.
Though it might seem like a simple thing, when Instagram added a bunch of cute hat and glasses designs, it gave users the ability to put those stickers on images, thus creating a very basic version of the same idea Snapchat offers, just not as cool or creative… yet.