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Image credit: Genady Okrain/TechCrunch

Instagram tests its counterpart to Snapchat's friend codes

It wants you to find friends as easily as you do with its rival.
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Genady Okrain/TechCrunch

Instagram's tendency to shadow Snapchat features now extends to the way you find new people to follow. The company has confirmed to TechCrunch that it's testing Nametags, a not-too-subtle riff on Snapcodes. As reader Genady Okrain discovered, the feature lets you create a custom tag using emoji patterns (which can be based on augmented reality selfies) for future sharing. You can't actually scan or share them right now, but there isn't much mystery as to how they'll work -- you'd point your phone camera at a Nametag to add someone without typing their name or waiting for a request.

Like other experiments, there's no certainty that this will become widely available. With that said, this seems more likely to ship than most. If Instagram is going to continue usurping Snapchat's dominance, it needs to capture more of the cultural zeitgeist -- and that means replacing (or at least, supplementing) the Snapcodes you see on Twitter avatars and posters with Nametags. They'll make it easier for you to add contacts, but they may also have you thinking twice about loading Snapchat just for the sake of following a superstar.

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