Instagram stole Snapchat’s story feature, old news… Well, now they may have 1-up on the original disappearing instant messaging platform.
Instagram is now offering even more photo and video messaging options to 200+ million Story users. It’s called Direct. Direct, launched last November, has been Instagram’s name for its disappearing messages. Now, Instagram is plugging its disappearing photo and video messaging within its Stories feature.
Since a few days ago you can respond to posts within Stories with disappearing photo and video messages. These replies will go (directly) to your inbox so that you can view them. These messages do not stick around after you have viewed them, and you will be notified if your friends have taken a screenshot of your response, exactly like Snapchat. By integrating Direct with Stories, something that Snapchat does not yet do, may give Instagram a 1-up on the original disappearing message platform.
So, how does that work?
The new reply feature, available on both iOS and Android with the latest version of the app, is easy enough to use. Now, when you look at a friend’s story, you’ll see the familiar text box at the bottom, but with a camera icon to the left of it. Tap it to send a photo, video, or Boomerang reply to their Direct inbox. In your reply you can add stickers, face filters, and use the rewind feature. And if you’re someone who forgets what they post to their story, your friend’s reply will include a sticker of it. All replies in your Direct inbox will be highlighted in blue, so you’ll know the difference between a regular message and someone replying to your story.
So what is Snapchat doing while all this is going on?
Snapchat are still fighting strong to combat the ever-popular Instagram.
TechCrunch reports that Snapchat has added a few updates of their own, including links to external websites. Using the newly added Paperclip tool, users can add a website URL to a Snap which their friends will be able to open up in a third-party browser app. Before, only registered companies were able to do this.
Secondly, their Backdrop feature allows the user to cut out an object from their snap and place it anywhere, including a new snap. Then, the user can add a variety of creative patterns into the background.
Lastly, there are voice filters. These type of filters started appearing along with cute visual filters, however now you can change your voice independently. Users can now tap the speaker icon in the bottom of the screen and select from a range of character voices.
The majority of Snapchat users are millennials, and half of them are more than 25. That being said, when it comes to young people, Snapchat is still the primary choice for disappearing instant messaging over Instagram. But, for how long, only time will tell.