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Instagram Copies Snapchat (Again), Launches Its Own ‘Face Filters’


Arguably Snapchat’s most popular feature to date is their augmented reality ‘selfie filters’ that allow you to augment your face with bunny ears, vomit rainbows, and occasionally trample on someone’s copyright. Now, in a move absolutely everyone saw coming, Instagram has copied the feature.

In a new update that just went live earlier today, Instagram is introducing what they call ‘face filters’ into the camera app—”an easy way to turn an ordinary selfie into something fun and entertaining.”

“From math equations swirling around your head to furry koala ears that move and twitch, you can transform into a variety of characters that make you smile or laugh,” reads the Instagram blog. “To see our initial set of eight face filters, simply open the camera and tap the new face icon in the bottom right corner.”

Here’s a video intro to the feature:

The ‘face filters’ work with both the front and back cameras, can be added to Instagram’s gif-like Boomerangs, and some of them even work with friends… sound familiar?

Once you’re done shooting them, face filter pictures and videos can be sent directly to friends through Instagram Direct, or posted to your Story… sound familiar?

From what we’ve seen in the demo video above (and a brief, buggy coffee shop testing session just now), Instagram has work to do before the filters feel as polished as Snapchat’s more refined and plentiful options, but it probably won’t take long to get that work done, driving yet another nail in the Snap Inc. stock price coffin.

In addition to Face Filters, Instagram added a few other neat tricks to the app.

Rewind lets you capture videos that play in reverse, so you can create little ‘magic tricks’ that make it look like you’re defying the laws of physics—”Drop a microphone and watch it fly up into your hand.”

Hashtag stickers do exactly what it sounds like: let you create a sticker that is a hashtag. The sticker is also clickable, taking people to the hashtag page where they can explore related photos.

And finally, the Eraser tool lets you play around with negative space. Fill a photo with a color, and then erase out what you want to reveal… or just fix a mistake you made.

To play around with Snapchat’s old Instagram’s new features, download the newest version from the iTunes App Store or Google Play Store, or update your app now. The features should already be available to everyone.