Today, Instagram launched Instagram Stories.
Instagram Stories is a new way to share, allowing you to take photos or videos and add them to your story. After 24 hours, these stories will disappear. Does this sound familiar? It should. Instagram Stories is basically Snapchat for Instagram. Which isn't a bad thing.
It appears that Instagram Stories was hidden amongst a couple "bug fixes and improvements" updates and Instagram decided to flip the switch today. At the top of the app UI, you'll now see story bubbles. If any of your followers have posted to their story in the past 24 hours, you'll see it here. These story bubbles are listed chronologically by date created, and you can see more if you swipe left. Tapping a story bubble will bring you into someones story. Similar to Snapchat, you will see each photo or video for 6 seconds before proceeding to the next one. At the top of the UI you can see indicators of how many posts are in the story and your progress viewing them. Tapping these indicator lines will reload the post it's attached to, and you can relive the story as many times as you'd like.
From the Instagram main screen, you can swipe right to immediately jump into the New Story screen, or swipe left to jump into your Direct Messages. I can't recall if the swipe left to Direct Messages has been there, or if it is new in this update. Each UI aspect of Instagram Stories feels very Snapchat-esque. I'm sure Instagram is aware of that, and that it was a very intentional design. It might just be me, but while Instagram Stories may not be as feature rich as Snapchat (there are no crazy filters or face swapping), I feel as though the Instagram Stories UI is slightly more polished. Each time I use Snapchat, I feel as though I'm fumbling around a completely gesture based UI and I have a hard time locating things. I will admit, I don't use Snapchat nearly as often as Instagram, so this is more than likely a product of me being in my comfort zone.
It will be interesting to see where Instagram takes Instagram Stories and what features they decide to add. For those that are invested into Snapchat, I can see it growing quite cumbersome managing content for both. Even though Instagram is late to the game, they definitely stepped up to the plate. I am looking forward to using Instagram Stories more. Stay tuned to the CLE Tech Instagram account for Story content, including some behind-the-scenes of upcoming video shoots.
If there is anything in particular you would like to see about Instagram Stories, or any comparisons you'd like to see with Snapchat, let us know in the comments below.