Instagram adds “face filters” to complete its Snapchat transformation
Instagram, which turned the copying of various Snapchat features into a near art form, finally ripped off the last major Snapchat feature it had yet to copy: Selfie lenses. The app is starting to roll out its own version of the feature called Face Filters.
The new filters are “an easy way to turn an ordinary selfie into something fun and fun,” Instagram wrote in a blog post detailing the changes.
Instagram is throwing eight filters to boot, but will likely be faster. Of the top eight, some will no doubt be familiar to longtime Snapchat users. There are bunny ears and other animal faces, glasses (with math equations spinning on top) and a few different variations of “crowns”.
Like Snapchat lenses, some of the filters also work with multiple people in the frame. Instagram hasn’t indicated how often it will update the feature with new images, but it looks like the app plans to update them regularly, like Facebook does with Snapchat cameras in Facebook and Messenger.
That Instagram is once again blatantly copying Snapchat shouldn’t come as a surprise at this point, of course.
But the move comes at a particularly important time for the newly public Snap. The company simply exploded its first profit and faces a decline in user growth.
Downloads were down 16 percent in April from the same month in 2016, according to new research from Sensor Tower, an app analytics company. Meanwhile, Instagram is, by all accounts on the rise. The app moves past the milestone, after the milestone, and downloads increased 19% in April, compared to the same period last year.
For his part, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel has quashed investor concerns about competition from Facebook. “Just because Yahoo has a search box it doesn’t mean they’re Google,” he said when asked about the threat from competitors like Facebook.
Previously, the company also valorize that his users are unique in that they spend significantly more time in Snapchat than in other apps.
Face filters aside, Instagram has added a few new “creative tools” to the update.
There’s “Rewind,” a new video setting that lets you save and share videos in reverse (Snapchat also has this feature, for those who keep following). There is also a new “eraser brush” tool which allows you to remove portions of your doodles and other effects you have added.
Finally, the app adds a new hashtag sticker feature for Stories. You can now create hashtags from stickers that will be closely related to other Instagram content that shares that hashtag.