Instagram apes Snapchat yet again with face filters

The funny headwear, animal noses and more you use in snaps have been co-opted by Facebook.


At this point, it's probably easier to note the features Instagram and Facebook haven't swiped from Snapchat. Those tools already include the likes of Stories, stickers and more. Today, the filter-driven photo app announced a slew of new features, one of which looks quite familiar: face filters. That's tight, the goofy headwear, animal noses, glasses and more you know and love on Snapchat are now available for your selfies on Instagram.

Are these exactly the same at Snapchat's version? Instagram says no. At TechCrunch Disrupt, the company's product head Kevin Weil explained why. "You'll see as you use them, there's a level of craft and detail with each one of the eight face filters that I think is unique," he said. Weil used the example of the koala ears filter and how they twitch like a real bear's ears naturally do. In other words, Instagram is making the case that its face filters are more realistic and life-like than Snapchat's selfie lenses. Of course, we'll put our selfie experts on the case to be the judge of that.

Weil also explained that Instagram is testing location-based Stories. Basically, you'll be able to tap on any of those location-specific stickers to see a slideshow of Story content from other users -- even if you don't follow them. It sounds kind of like an Explore option for Stories, but they're limited to a specific spot.

Instagram isn't stopping at face filters in this update though, it also added the ability to play videos backwards with the camera. There's a new "Rewind" option that sits right beside Boomerang in the camera window that will play whatever footage you capture in reverse. There are also new hashtag stickers that you can customize with whatever subject matter to need to include on your images and clips. Lastly, a new eraser brush drawing tool will allow you to scribble away letters from a solid color to reveal your photo underneath. There's a lot of new stuff to try out today and Instagram says it's all available to use right now in its Android and iOS apps.