If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Snapchat should have been delighted to see Instagram Stories, an unabashed mirroring of Snapchat's ephemeral video-driven feed, debut last month. However, Snapchat ended up socking a big hit from Instagram's artful borrowing.
The worse, it seems, is yet to come. Instagram has recently rolled out a new video channel, called Events, within the Explore tab. It's currently available only for users in the United States, but going by the app's modus operandi, it's likely to roll out globally within the next few months, if not earlier. Proving to be uncannily similar to Snapchat's Live Stories, Instagram's Live Events channel aggregates videos captured by users at concerts, sporting events, and other live events the world over.
This new feature is certainly no game changer, but Instagram's smart variations on the same theme is set to make Snapchat bleed even more. For one, Instagram's algorithms puts a personalised spin on this live video feed, pushing only events you're likely to enjoy, straight into your palm.
At the rate things are going, we're not sure if we'll recognise Instagram anymore. It's gone from being a digital photo album to a hypercharged beast spewing forth photos, videos, and live streams. Will a deluge of commercial ads start to rain on our feeds? Will current users stick around to see the app through multiple stages of evolution? What's Snapchat — which has held its peace thus far — going to do next? This jostle for front-row seats in the social media space is one tech war to watch.