Instagram introduces Snapchat style face filters, a "rewind" camera format, and custom hashtag stickers

Facebook's Snapchat copying spree continues with Instagram now getting augmented reality face tracking overlays called "Face Filters". There are eight face filters at the time of the introduction. The options are an angelic wreath with god rays, koala ears and nose, geeky spectacles with floating equations, bunny ears, a circlet of flowers with fluttering butterflies, an icy crown, a tiara with purple feathers, and a beautification filter with sparkles.

Introducing Face Filters on Instagram from Instagram on Vimeo.

There is a new smiley face with sparkles icon next to the camera button to trigger the filters. Some of the filters have additional actions that need to be triggered. You can blow out puffs of icy air while wearing the ice crown, and moving your mouth is necessary to trigger the floating math equations when wearing the nerd glasses. An internet connection is needed to use the filters.


There is another camera format available from within the app. Instagram had previously introduced the "Boomerang" and "Hands-Free" formats for snapping short clips that loop back and forth, and the ability to shoot a video like a regular camera app without a need to keep the record button pressed. Now, a new format known as "rewind" just shoots the action in reverse, allowing for various kinds of illusions and tricks.


Users can now add custom hashtag stickers to their stories. The feature is meant to allow users to set more context to a story, and allow users to jump from one story to another thematically linked one. Users can specify the text in the hashtag sticker, and viewers who tap on the stickers can navigate to other stories that use the same hashtag. Similar to mentions, hashtags can be appended to a story through the regular text mode as well.


Another new feature is the eraser brush tool. The image is overlaid with a blank colour image, portions of which can be selectively erased away to reveal the image underneath. There is a slider to select the size of the eraser brush. The eraser brush can be used with videos as well.


Facebook tried to acquire Snapchat for $1 billion in 2013, but failed. Since then, Facebook has introduced features similar to Snapchat in WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger and the mobile app for Facebook, all of which dominate the rankings on application stores. Adding the features to all these apps allows the apps to be owned by Facebook to be better than the service offered by Snapchat. However, more millenials still prefer Snapchat over Facebook.

Published Date: May 17, 2017 01:25 pm | Updated Date: May 17, 2017 01:25 pm