Runaway app-sensation, Snapchat, has hit it big with its “see me only once” messages and 24-hour-only “Stories”. But, recently Instagram released “Instagram stories” and, no joke, it is exactly the same thing as Snapchat’s Stories. What’s going on here? How can Instagram do that? Why would they? And, is it working?
Well, it turns out that Instagram (and any other app for that matter) can legally copy or take inspiration from any app as long as it is not stealing the actual coding from the original. This makes sense, we see so many similar apps out there with the same functionality (hello Candy Crush knock-offs & dating apps no one has heard of). They are all very similar but only some become popular or work well.
Ok, so Instagram isn’t breaking any laws… but why would they want to copy Snapchat? For this answer, we need to look a little deeper at Instagram. Back in 2012, Facebook bought Instagram for a massive sum of 1 billion dollars! Since then, Instagram has become more and more integrated with the Facebook app. A year later is when Snapchat saw its popularity boom, and in 2014, Facebook made them an offer just like Instagram. Except, this time, Facebook offered to buy Snapchat for 3 billion dollars! But the independent app turned Facebook’s offer down and Snapchat remained its own company. So, like a scored lover, Facebook (maybe) plotted revenge. Fast-forward to last week when the Facebook-owned app Instagram launched a feature that is a almost exact copy of Snapchat’s Stories feature. Maybe Facebook thought, “If I cant buy’em, I’ll simply beat’em.”
The internet’s reaction at first was confusion, then transitioned to making fun of Instagram’s decision. Many users want to keep their apps separate and use each for its own original purpose. Instagram seems to be more about staged moments than Snapchat, which users engage with off-the-cuff due to its “here today, gone tomorrow” concept. This seems reminiscent of the Google + story. Google tried to copy and become more like Facebook with Google +, but it was a huge flop because no one wanted a new Facebook; they were happy with the old one. But the jury is still out on Instagram Stories. I know several people who have already abandoned Snapchat altogether, saying that on Instagram stories they have more followers and an easier time getting new viewers.
What do you think of Instagram’s new “Stories” feature? And what app do you think big companies like Facebook and Google will try and buy or replace next?