It is said that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. That is what the Snapchat fans would lead you to believe after Mark Zuckerberg announced Instagram stories today, which is a new feature that allows Instagram users to take a stream of photos that expire after 24 hours. If that sounds familiar it is because the new feature is very similar to Snapchat. Thus, immediately after the feature was announced a lot of people begin to call it a Snapchat rip-off which leads us to the question; Is Instagram stories a groundbreaking new feature or is it Facebook’s way of showing flattery for Snapchat?
Before talking about the app itself, let’s address the obvious question first. Is Stories exactly like Snapchat? In terms of interface, one has to admit that Instagram stories looks exactly like Snapchat. From the way you browse stories, to the entire concept of the app pretty much everything has been influenced by Snapchat. Fans of Snapchat will claim that stories is ripped off from Snapchat however, Instagram does put its own spin on certain features.
Instead of copying the entire user experience, Instagram tried to take the concept of Snapchat and in some ways made it better. The primary problem of Snapchat is that its interface is slightly difficult to navigate. Thus, adults have a problem with using the service. O the other, the younger generations love using the app.
Throughout the user interface, the app gives you instructions on how to perform different functions. Plus the app also has all the drawing features of Snapchat however; you can perform the same functions with fewer buttons.
The app uses labeled buttons instead of swipes moreover; it also offers the users information about how to use different features, in order to avoid confusion. Unlike Snapchat there are always instructions available about for what you’re looking at and where to go next. The app also replaces the swiping up feature of Snapchat to send quick replies and instead uses a send message button. Little details like these simply enhance the user experience and make stories more enjoyable to use.
Perhaps the biggest advantage for Instagram is that it is already used by millions of people around the globe. Instagram is already a well-renowned photo sharing service and stories is an added feature that can now be enjoyed by the current users by simply updating the app. This feature alone gives Instagram stories superiority over Snapchat as thousands of people already browse their feeds every hour and they don’t have to download a separate app in order to enjoy Snapchat like features.
In Snapchat, there is no other way to find people unless you know their username, however, in stories you can even browse the stories of people you have never met by simply following them. While privacy buffs would complain about this feature, this does give Instagram a sense of community.
In the past, Facebook tried to emulate Snapchat by creating Slingshot, an app that copied all the features of Snapchat. However, the problem with Slingshot was that it was a separate app that users needed to download hence; it had a very small chance of succeeding. On the other hand, despite Snapchat’s popularity Instagram stories has a better chance of taking over Snapchat due to its already existing user base.